Is the Prime Minister of New Zealand the first person to be pregnant while in office?
Congratulations are in order for New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who announced on Friday, January 19th, that she is pregnant with her first child. While her peers and constituents have so far shown Ardern nothing but support, many people are surprised at the idea of having a pregnant world leader — something that doesn’t happen too often.
Many are currently wondering: Has there even been a pregnant world leader in modern times before Jacinda Ardern?
Ardern is actually not the first leader to become pregnant while in office. According to The New Zealand Herald, the last time a world leader was expecting was 28 years ago. In 1990, Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto became the first serving elected leader to have a child while in office, giving birth to her daughter, Bakhtawar.
While it may seem rare to see a pregnant leader in office (and hopefully becomes less so the more women hold positions of power), it was a common occurrence in days of yore. There have been many female leaders throughout history who became pregnant ruling countries and even empires. Pregnant heads-of-state throughout history include Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands; Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Eleanor of Aquitane (and that’s only the tip of the iceberg).
As for Ardern, she has made it clear that she is like any other working pregnant woman. When speaking to reporters after her announcement, Ardern said, “I am not the first woman to multi-task, 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.”
We have a feeling Ardern is going to rock this — just like so many women before her.