KUOW's old lactation room was an electrical closet Moms hung that orange lei on the door to let station engineers know they were pumping.
Enlarge Icon
KUOW's old lactation room was an electrical closet Moms hung that orange lei on the door to let station engineers know they were pumping.
Credit: KUOW PHOTO/BOND HUBERMAN

Mamas, raise your hand if you've pumped in a closet or bathroom stall

KUOW moms once pumped breast milk in an electrical closet.

The closet is small and dusty, and literally every wall has wires sticking out of it. It actually hums with electricity.

On this episode of Battle Tactics For Your Sexist Workplace, Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel start by talking with KUOW's Isolde Raftery about what it was like to be relegated to a closet to pump upon returning to work after her son was born.

"That first day, I took a photo of the lactation room, because I thought it was funny — like sad-funny," Raftery said. "And I posted it to my Facebook account. And I actually thought people were gonna say, 'Wow Isolde, you’re cool. Look at you. Getting things done.'

"But actually, people responded saying, 'That’s really sad. That’s really depressing. You got this, mama.' And it made me a little bit sad. And it made me rethink my initial response to this room."

KUOW has a much nicer lactation room now. But the electrical closet still serves as a reminder of how inequitable the workplace can be and how sexism doesn't always look like we think it will.

"It looks like men — and women — not thinking through how the workplace functions for every employee," Scott Bynoe said.