In October 2017, at the age of just 37, Jacinda Ardern became the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand — and the world’s youngest female Head of Government. She was immediately hailed as a moderniser as much for her socially democratic stance as for her announcement in January 2018, via social media, that she was pregnant and would give birth in office.
“Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three, and that we’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be “first man of fishing” and stay at home dad. I think it’s fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn’t be more excited.”
In the months since becoming a mother, Ardern has been praised for ‘extraordinary’ global leadership, particularly in response to domestic terror attacks in Christchurch, in which she expressed both compassion for the victims and strength in direct response to the perpetrator. Her role as a savvy and committed political operator was also confirmed, as she immediately enacted changes to gun laws that banned assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.
More recently, her Government took the unprecedented step of releasing a ‘well-being budget’ — with taxpayers’ money being used to help people in the country become happier, rather than richer.