Our take on the 'Miriam Dalli takes baby Kane to work' photo | Jobs for Mums Malta

Katja Dingli Bennetti November 22, 2016

Miriam Dalli shares her perspective.

It's amazing how sharing a photo on social media can fuel so much attention and inspire so many impulsive reactions. Recently Dr Miriam Dalli shared a photo of her with five month old baby Kane at the European Parliament,Miriam_Dalli_Baby_Kane and instantly, everyone had something to say about it.

Here at JobsforMumsMalta, we weren't sure if this was a well thought out stunt to get the flexible working discussion going (this is what we wished) or if it was merely a photo Dr Dalli decided to share to remind us all how dedicated to both her family and career she is.
 
So rather than sharing our own interpretation of the story and jumping to conclusions, we decided to go right to the source and reach out to Miriam and ask her what was going through her head when she shared this photo. Was it an innocent publicity stunt or was there an underlying message to it all? Here's what she shared.
 
'Kane is still 5 months old and he needs to be with me. On that particular​ day I was contacted by my political group to represent the S&D in an exchange of views with Commissioner Violeta Bulc. The Environment committee is made up of politicians who are interested in how we perform as MEPs and if ​members can perform and take care of their children at the same time, then so be it. I have colleagues of mine who get their babies with them whilst voting in plenary. It is a very natural thing to do'
 
Let's rewind to 2010. When MEP Licia Ronzulli first brought her daughter to work, pictures of the politician voting while carrying her baby in a sling caused a media stir, however that was six years ago, and since then a number of MEPs have been accompanied by their children to the European Parliament so why are we causing such a stir now?  Is it because seeing a fellow Maltese being a 21st century employee and mum shocks us? If we had to dig deeper we'd start to think that the attention Dalli's photos attracted is quite worrying because by now we should have realized that this is standard practice and nothing out of the ordinary. Should we be debating if Dalli should have taken her child to work or should we be shining on light on why in this day and age we find this to be such an issue when it really shouldn't be​?
 

We thought it would be a super idea to promote a photo of a male MEP with his child at ​the European Parliament. We believe that this is has news value because it's showing that men really are supporting their wives and sharing work life responsibilities as parents. Our wish was granted and Dalli’s team quickly sent us a photo which is definitely one for the books!

MEP_TIBOR_SZANYIMEP - MR Tibor SZANYI

What is certain is that Dalli is lucky enough to be working in an institution which believes in flexible working and understands that employees are also parents, and that one role ​shouldn't exclude the other. The European Parliament is giving a clear example of how businesses should change their company culture so the question remains, are European enterprises taking the European Parliament's lead? If businesses are really following its example then this photo wouldn't have caused the stir it did now would it?  ​

We continued our discussion with Miriam and argued that not all work environments are ideal for kids, we also questioned whether children in the workplace might cause unnecessary distraction and Dalli replied 'I understand that not every work scenario is ideal for a child and​ I believe employers should provide support structures and leave the discretion with the parents whether to utilise such services or not. If an employer has a child friendly culture and structure then interference would be minimal.

​So everyone, our question is, what's next? We criticized the photo published personally by Dr Dalli which was then shared and ended up on a news-portal, so many of us including the media impulsively reacted and shared their take however, now that the water has settled what's our next step going to be? Will this all fizzle out like so many other debates do? We won't let it. Let's keep the discussion going, let's use the photo as a start for a long awaited debate. Let's not be the country left behind.