New Zealand’s Prime Minister is pregnant, and she’s shutting down sexist critics
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Friday, January 19th, that she is expecting her first child. According to CNN, Ardern is the first world leader in 28 years to be pregnant while in office. The first head-of-state to give birth while in office was Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1990.
Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, expect their child to arrive in June. The prime minister shared the news via Facebook, adding that she and Gayford will “be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats.” The couple has known of the pregnancy since October 2017, but like many expecting parents, they kept the news to themselves during the early stages.
Ardern later spoke to reporters outside her home and informed the public that she’ll be taking six weeks leave after the baby is born.
"I am not the first woman to multi-task," Ardern told reporters. "I'm not the first woman to work and have a baby. I know these are special circumstances but there will be many women who will have done this well before I have," she said.
Hours after Ardern was elected to lead New Zealand’s Labour Party on August 2nd, 2017, a television host questioned her about her future family plans. Ardern fired back, stating that the question (which a male candidate or leader would never be asked) was “unacceptable.”
"My position is no different to the woman who works three jobs, or who might be in a position where they're juggling lots of responsibilities," Arden responded. While visiting a morning radio show, Arden later said of the question, "I elected to talk about it, it was my choice [...] but for other women it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say a woman should have to answer that question in the workplace."
For the most part, Ardern is receiving massive support from her peers and constituents. Former Prime Minister Helen Clarke shared her congratulations and stood by Ardern’s decision to be a working mom.
Ardern, who became New Zealand’s youngest prime minister when elected in October at the age of 37, also told the press that she feels lucky that Gayford can stay at home with their child. Gayford is the host of a popular fishing and cooking show called Fish of the Day.
We’re sending our congratulations to Ardern and Gayford. Millions of moms around the world successfully wear two or three (or more) different hats. Ardern will join their ranks and continue to remind the world that women are resilient, capable, and driven leaders.