New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to her first child, a girl, on 21 June, then shared the news with a photo on social media. The PM will now take six weeks maternity leave while her deputy steps in.
At 37, Ardern is New Zealand’s youngest Prime Minister in 150 years, and she is only the second elected country leader in modern history to give birth in office. (Benazir Bhutto also gave birth to a girl in 1990, while Prime Minister of Pakistan.)
She joined New Zealand’s Labour Party while a teenager, and became an MP in 2008. She turned down the leadership of the party seven times before finally accepting in 2017. Three months later, in October, she became PM at the head of a coalition government.
Quite a Year
If that wasn’t enough, in January Ardern then announced – on social media of course – that she was pregnant. Her partner, TV presenter Clarke Gayford, will take time out to be a stay-at-home dad, explaining, “We weighed it up between us and decided her job was possibly slightly more important!”
A declared feminist, Ardern has pushed for equal numbers of male and female candidates in her party.
Despite her initial reluctance to accept the party leader role, Ardern seems to have taken to modern leadership like a duck to water. And the Labour Party is trying to keep up with the 21st century image. Soon after the birth, they offered supporters the possibility to send good wishes to the new parents, by signing an online congratulations card.