The Way Dudes Are Misusing Lactation Rooms Will Make You Furious

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For working moms who breastfeed, finding a clean, quiet place to pump on the job can be a challenge. Not every office comes equipped with a designated pumping area, and the ones that do are often small, cramped, and less than private. As if there weren't enough challenges to overcome, there's a new problem impeding breastfeeding moms from getting their pump on: Dudes are apparently using workplace lactation rooms for meditation, conference calls, lunch breaks, and even naps.

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Arianna Huffington made headlines recently when she revealed that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has started meditating at work -- but since he doesn't have a dedicated meditation room at the office, he just dips into the staff lactation room.

"Literally, it was an amazing moment last week when we were in the office and he said, 'I really need to go meditate in order to be in a place to make good decisions right now,'" Huffington told CNBC. "And literally [he] went into a lactation room that happened to be open, because they don't have meditation rooms yet."

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Huffington explains Kalanick's lactation room takeover like it's a good thing, but her comments had women everywhere saying, "Um, wait. What?"

Lactation rooms are supposed to be a convenient, safe space for moms who need to express milk -- not a place where busy, working moms go to wait on some dudebro to finish meditating before they can go about their business. But, as Romper revealed, apparently Kalanick is in good company and dudes all over the country treat lactation rooms like a bonus Man Cave in the office.


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A quick Twitter search confirms that women have been annoyed about this issue for a long, long time.


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I think I speak for a lot of moms when I say: Dudes, what are you even doing?

Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with more than 50 employees are legally obligated to give moms breaks for pumping, as well as a protected space (read: not a freakin' bathroom!) to do it. So, not only is it an annoyance to have people napping and taking calls in the lactation room -- it's actually against the rules.

Of course, we probably shouldn't be surprised that no one takes lactation rooms seriously. Women have had to fight tooth and nail just to have a place to pump in the first place. That people belittle the importance of the space and assume they can use it as some kind of catch-all activity center only speaks to the utter disrespect our society has for moms and motherhood, especially in the workplace. It's the same reason one in four moms is required to go back to work just 10 days after giving birth and daycare costs more than a college education in some areas: We don't take the needs and responsibilities of working moms seriously, and we consider accommodations for moms to be nonessential.

People are pissed at Travis Kalanick's lactation room meditation sessions -- and they should be. But, as these tweets show, he's definitely not the only one putting his own wants before the needs of working women.

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