WLC Opens Lactation Room at Capitol
The Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) opened the first lactation room at the State Capitol on Monday, which was complete with a blessing and opening ceremony.
The room, located on the second floor, will provide a comfortable, private space for mothers to nurse their babies and express milk, according to a State press release. The space is furnished with a table, chair, posters and a rug provided by the House and Senate Clerks offices for the project.
“In the past, mothers who came to the Capitol to talk to lawmakers, attend hearings or testify did not have a private, hygienic place to use a breast pump,” said Representative Linda Ichiyama, Women’s Legislative Caucus co-convener. “This new room for mothers and families removes a barrier to open participation in government. I’m grateful it all came together before the start of the next legislative session.”
Leʻa Minton, board president of Breastfeeding Hawaiʻi, said the lactation room is critical for allowing mothers to take part in the legislative process.
“Lactation rooms are opening in government buildings across the country,” said Minton. “Mothers have the right to breastfeed or express milk and still take part in the legislative process. We want to thank the Women’s Legislative Caucus for making this happen.”
Misty Kela’i, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, performed the blessing ceremony.
Legislators have also provided funds to install diaper changing stations on each floor of the Capitol. That project will provide at least one changing station per floor and is currently being planned.
The bipartisan Women’s Legislative Caucus is comprised of women elected to the State House of Representatives and the Senate. It was established more than 20 years ago to advocate bills on behalf of the women of the state of Hawai’i.