Feminist activist Gloria Steinem and several chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW) have condemned the Democratic National Committee for “discrimination against mothers with young children” during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
“Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women,” Steinem said in a statement. “It’s both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist.”
The NOW chapters of Southern California — including Hollywood, Long Beach-South Bay, Pacific Shore and Palm Spring — voiced concern this week that the Democratic National Convention will not offer automatic access for young children on the convention floor, and will not be providing childcare during the event.
According to mother and 2012 Democratic National Convention delegate Susie Shannon, the policy is disenfranchising women like her.
“Moms with young children six years of age and under who cannot be left at home, some of whom are breastfeeding, are relegated to second-class status within the Democratic Convention,” she explained in a statement, “unable to participate as a delegate due to antiquated policies and inadequate accommodations that were apparently in place before women’s suffrage.”
NOW Hollywood President Lindsey Horvath charged that the policy of requiring children and babies to be credentialed is being used to discriminate against mothers.
“The DNC requires children and babies to have a credential to enter the convention, and then denies these credential requests from moms. The DNC credentialing process is being used as a tool to prevent mothers from participating at the convention and is nothing short of discriminatory.”
Convention spokeswoman Joanne Peters told the Associated Press that attendees can find childcare providers in the convention’s official vendor directory, and that facilities will be provided for nursing mothers.
“We believe this practice of discrimination needs to end in 2012,” said Pacific Shore NOW President Zoe Nicholson. “This is the year for the Democratic leadership to demonstrate comprehensive support of women, ending this outdated practice and to state publicly that it supports true family values.”
A Republican National Convention spokeswoman did not respond to TheDC’s request for child-care policies at the RNC in Tampa.