A Spanish politician annoyed conservatives and feminists by taking her baby into parliament

Image: Reuters/Sergio Barrenechea
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You can’t win them all—or in this case, hardly any of them. A Spanish MP who brought her baby into parliament has managed to annoy both conservatives and feminists.

Carolina Bescansa is an elected member of Podemos, the anti-austerity party that saw a surge in support in Spain’s inconclusive general election. She brought her five-month-old baby, Diego, to the Congreso de los Diputados, which is currently in gridlock as MPs are still trying to form a coalition government.

“If a mother has to care for her child, she has to care for him wherever,” Bescansa said, according to The Guardian. “It’s time that this chamber started to resemble the rest of the country.”

Podemos’ leader Pablo Iglesias embraced the baby and described her decision to bring the baby into parliament as “a symbolic gesture on behalf of all women who try to strike a balance between work and family and today are unable to do so.”

But the acting interior minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, accused Bescansa of using her child “for political motives.” Carme Chacón, the former Socialist defense minister, reportedly criticized Bescansa for not using the day nursery in the parliament, as she did. “I was still breastfeeding when I was minister and the child stayed in my office,” Chacón said. “After three hours, I had to call a recess so I could feed him.”

And a number of women groups aren’t that happy for Bescansa, either. The Federation of Progressive Women, Women for Equality, and the Women’s Foundation all criticized her for “perpetuating the idea that it’s a woman’s job to care for children.”

Bescansa last caused a stir when she brought in Diego and breastfed him during parliament’s opening session.