UK news Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl back to work at Stormont with baby daughter at her side last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Newly-elected Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl is back at work at Stormont today with her three-week old baby daughter by her side.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "Newly-elected Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl is back at work at Stormont today with her three-week old baby daughter by her side. The South Belfast representative said more must be done to support working mothers as she called for maternity leave and childcare facilities for Assembly members.“Barriers to young women entering politics must be removed,” she said. “Our government should lead by example when it comes to equal opportunity and inclusion.“We need to have best practice at Stormont so other employers across Northern Ireland follow suit.”Ms Nicholl said she was delighted to be elected to her “dream job” in May, but felt under serious pressure in the final days of her pregnancy knowing she would have no option but to return to work so swiftly after her baby was born.“Any changes will be too late for me, but I am campaigning for them to be introduced so it is not a choice between career and motherhood for other women,” she said.Ms Nicholl, who was dealing with constituency work the day after she had baby Etain Evelyn, has a diary full of internal party and cross-party meetings this week as well as interviews for office staff.“I am breast-feeding so my daughter has to come with me. I can’t leave her with anyone for any length of time,” she said.“If the Assembly was up-and-running with full plenary sessions and committee meetings, it would be extremely challenging.“I would be taking Etain Evelyn into the chamber. Given the length of the sessions, I don’t know if it would be the best place for a baby.“She is very good and chilled, and I am delighted to be introducing her to my colleagues today, but I do think the system at Stormont is based around MLAs being male.“Despite having had a female First Minister and Deputy First Minister, as well as fantastically strong female party leaders, the support simply doesn’t exist for women MLAs with babies and young children.”The Alliance politician, who is mother to two-year-old Cian, gave birth to Etain Evelyn on May 30.While MPs are entitled to six months paid leave, there is no such provision for MLAs.“In the final few days of my pregnancy I felt completely overwhelmed,” Ms Nicholl said: “I was a councillor when I had Cian and I took him to meetings at City Hall when he was four weeks’ old.
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.“Just before I went into labour, I was very nervous and stressed knowing that I wouldn’t have the time, if I needed it, to readjust to having a new baby and bonding with her.“If we want more women in politics, then we must ensure they don’t have to make these choices between having a family and a career.“There should be more support for them. At Westminster, there is funding for a locum MP who can stand in and do constituency work for six months.“That is on the cards at Stormont in this mandate if a new Speaker can be appointed and the institutions get up and running.”Last year, the SDLP’s Nichola Mallon wrote to Speaker Alex Maskey asking him to bring forward proposals for maternity leave for female politicians here.Ms Mallon, a mother-of-three, said the issue would have already been addressed if it affected men in the same way.She said it was wrong that women didn’t have the option of “taking time off in those very formative weeks with their baby”, and instead faced the choice of not serving their constituents or going to work with their newborn with them.The SDLP woman faced online criticism for taking her infant son to a meeting with Secretary of State Julian Smith in 2019.Ms Nicholl said: “Nichola Mallon was a trailblazer as a working mother. I found the image of her pushing the pram into the Hillsborough talks incredibly inspiring. We need to keep up the pressure for change.”The Alliance MLA noted that Sue Gray, the former permanent secretary at the Department of Finance, had looked at establishing a creche for MLAs and civil-servants on the Stormont Estate, but the issue hadn’t been progressed.Ms Nicholl added: “I’m extremely privileged to hold the job that I do. I want to be a good MLA and a good mum. I believe reform is essential if women are to be able to be both.”"
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