Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To anyone who thinks that women shouldn't breastfeed in public

If you are the sort of idiot who would intimidate a mother on a train, telling her to go and feed her baby in the toilet, watch this and get over your ignorance.

I hope the tearoom manager who screamed across the room at me to "stop doing that in case a man came in and got embarrassed" watches it too.The irony is that she had The Sun newspaper on hand for her customers to read, so it was fine for someone to show the naked breasts on Page 3 around the place, but not to look at the back of a baby's head.

Thankfully Chantelle Nicholls, the mother in last week's story and I were confident enough to stand our ground. I hate to think that anyone might be scared off from going out or feeding their babies in public.

If anybody is in any doubt, the Scottish Parliament protected the right to breastfeed in 2005, and the Equality Act followed suit for the rest of the UK in 2010. Nobody can, by law, stop you.

The problem is that we tend to find out about infringements after the event, after the damage has been done. Companies suffer no consequences as a result of their employee's bad behaviour. Northern Rail says that the incident highlights a need to inform employees about the Equality Act - but who will check that this has been done?

In my view, the conductor who abused Chantelle should have been disciplined, sacked if necessary. At the very least, he should have been sent to eat his lunch in a train toilet. His behaviour was unacceptable and a mere apology from Northern Rail isn't enough.

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