Childcare: Anton Hofreiter in the Bundestag – with his son on his lap

Anton Hofreiter brought his child to the Bundestag’s EU committee on Monday. There is applause for this online – but also criticism.

It is an unusual picture in a Bundestag committee: while Green politicians Anton Hofreiter chairing the European Committee meeting on Monday, he is not alone in his chair in the meeting room. His son sits on Hofreiter’s lap, occasionally pushing a toy car back and forth.

Hofreiter has headed the committee for about six months – but his child’s appearance is a novelty. An employee of the online service of the German Bundestag shared a screenshot of the father and son from Parliament television on Monday.

Hofreiter’s child in committee: A lot of enthusiasm – but also clear criticism

The picture made the rounds there – and initially inspired many: “I wish that that normal becomes. Maybe this will help politicians not to forget those affected by their decisions,” wrote one user. “Love everything about this picture,” tweeted well-known security expert and political scientist Carlo Masala. On Tuesday morning, so many discussed the picture that “Hofreiter” was number five on German Twitter trends.

But there was also criticism: Is Hofreiter instrumentalizing his child? Since the committee met in the afternoon, some on social networks wondered whether there was actually one care failure given, or whether the child was unnecessarily drawn into the public eye by the “appearance” and used for Hofreiter’s self-portrayal.

Childcare in top politics: praise for men, criticism for women?

One Twitter user criticized the predominantly positive feedback on the photo in a particularly differentiated manner: “When men (have to) take their child somewhere with them, it is usually like a feat applauded,” she wrote. When women do this, they are often treated as if “they don’t have control over their lives” and are “Rough Mothers”.

Hofreiter has been a member of the Bundestag for the Greens since 2005. The Bavarian was parliamentary group leader from 2013 to 2021. beginning March 2021 his wife gave birth to their first child. At that time, the studied biologist took a short break from parliamentary business.

So far, there have been similar pictures mainly from politicians. In 2010, for example, Italian MP Licia Ronzulli brought her daughter Vittoria, who had just been born, to the EU Parliament. Pictures of the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who brought her daughter to the UN General Assembly in New York in 2018, went around the world at the time. (bml)

Also read: Minister of the Greens – The fight for posts was so fierce

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