Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) called for society to start changing more quickly in the wake of news that she will become the first sitting U.S. senator to ever give birth, encouraging other women like her to run for office in pursuit of gender parity.
“The whole being the first sitting senator to give birth, I think, is ridiculous,” she said during a Sunday appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It’s 2018, we need more female senators, there are only 22 of us. But I’ve been a little overwhelmed by how landmark it is when it shouldn’t be. It’s the 21st century.”
Duckworth entered politics after concluding a distinguished military career as a helicopter pilot. She lost both of her legs during the Iraq War when the aircraft she was piloting was struck by a missile and crashed.
Now, Duckworth is a first-term senator who previously served as a representative for her state’s 8th district. Already a mother to one child, Duckworth has used her latest pregnancy as an opportunity to demand change for some Senate rules that appear targeted toward working mothers, such as a ban on children on the Senate floor.
“The Senate is behind the times, so we’re going to work on that,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth plans to take maternal leave after giving birth to her baby girl in April, but she vowed to still come in for important votes – which could cause a dilemma given the current Senate regulations.
“I’m going to take the time that I need with my daughter, but in the middle of that, there might be days when I have to, you know, we have a lot of close votes right now, that I need to come in and not let the people of Illinois down,” Duckworth said. “But then what do I do with my baby?”