Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She is currently serving her second term in the position and is also the Labour Party Leader since 2017. She has revolutionized politics in New Zealand and continues to lead with empathy and strategic decisions.
A woman of sheer brilliance and a force to be reckoned with, she has managed to awe everyone in her first term serving as the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Jacinda Ardern is a brilliant example of what women can achieve when given the right power. However, despite winning the election and proving herself, less than 24 hours after being elected, she was asked whether she felt a woman could have both a baby and a high-powered career. Initially, Ardern said that she had no problem answering the question. Yet, the very next day, another interviewer implied that employers had a right to know whether prospective female employees planned on taking time off from work to have children, Ardern’s response was very stern:
I decided to talk about it, it was my choice…, but for other women, it is unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is the woman’s decision about when they choose to have children. It should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities.
Despite all odds, Ardern stepped up and proved herself. She became a first-time mum at 37 and alsoNew Zealand through three challenging years. New Zealand endured its worst-ever terror attack, a deadly volcano eruption, and a global pandemic that has tested leaders around the globe.
Dealing with the Pandemic
During a press conference on 11 May 2020, she thanked and praised her team of five million for their tremendous efforts and the sacrifices they had made to protect the country’s most vulnerable during the outbreak.
“Kiwis from all walks of life were resolute and determined – determined that this was a war we could eventually win, but only if we acted together,”
She has been celebrated on the international stage by leaders worldwide and praised for her incredible effort at home. Due to her strong leadership during the pandemic, a recent poll found that Ardern is the country’s most popular leader in 100 years.
Her response to the Christchurch Shootings was another feat she achieved. People worldwide commended the compassion and empathy she showed in the wake of the worst mass killing in her country. She led a multiparty delegation from the country’s capital, Wellington, to Christchurch, wearing a black headscarf and mourning with the victims’ relatives and friends.
Ardern went above and beyond and promised to cover all those slain’s funeral costs in the shootout. A photographer who covered her visit marvelled at the prime minister’s composure and empathy.
“Ardern’s performance has been extraordinary – and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally,” political commentator, Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington, told Reuters.
The natural disaster killed 16 people on White Island in December 2019. Her response was quick and guided by empathy. Ardern labelled the event at White Island a “calamity”.
Speaking to the media, Ardern said the emergency service personnel had gone above and beyond the line of duty. “They have done an incredible job under devastating circumstances. What a calamity that exists here in Whakatane and everyone from coastguards, firefighters, St John, the police, all (those) down on the ground making themselves available to assist.”
While paying tribute to those who died, she said: “Many people did extraordinary things to save lives, those who have been lost are now forever linked to New Zealand, and we will hold them close.”