How's this for ironic? A breastfeeding mother was recently kicked out of the TedWomen conference—an event meant to empower, uplift and inspire working women and girls—for being too distracting.
While the conference had previously employed a no-baby policy, massive negative response on social media forced them to reverse their decision this year, even noting on their site that a lactation room would be provided for nursing mothers. So when mom Liza Morris brought her three-and-a-half-month-old to the conference with her, she didn't think it would be a big deal.
Clearly, she was wrong.
“When you have a baby this young, it’s not really a choice,” she tells Quartz. "It never even occurred to me that I couldn’t take my baby. If I had been aware [of TED’s policy], I certainly would have tried to cancel. But I have to clarify that when I have a child at a venue, I will never let her disturb anyone."
Morris says she was welcomed warmly by most of the other attendees, with many women offering help the first few days of the conference. However, on the third day, the new mom and her baby were escorted out of the viewing area.
Instead, she was told she could view the rest of the conference from a TV screen in a small, windowless lactation room—which she did. And while at first Morris didn't mind, she soon saw a service dog in the viewing area. Yes, a dog was allowed to watch the conference in person while Morris and her infant were forced to hide away.
Organizers claim that it was due to the complaints of some attendees who didn't care for seeing a baby on the floor. But that begs the question: If women are at this conference to learn how to better support each other, shouldn't they be supporting breastfeeding moms—aka the ultimate multitaskers—too?
Photograph by: Marla Aufmuth/TED