Jacinda Ardern is the world’s youngest female prime minister. She was elected as the Prime Minister of New Zealand at the age of 37. On 21 June 2018, Ardern gave birth to a baby girl thus becoming the world’s second elected head of government to give birth while in office. Jacinda Ardern has ridden a wave of enthusiasm in her country—so-called Jacindamania! The unconventional lady breaking all barriers announced one day while in office that she and her partner Clarke Gayford were expecting their first child. Gayford is a celebrity in his own right in New Zealand as the host of a television fishing show. They have no particular plans for marriage yet. The couple recently adopted a cat, a ginger rescue tabby named Paddles, made famous for his plaintive interjections when Ardern took a congratulatory call from Donald Trump.
Last year Jacinda Ardern attended two major international summits—the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, at which Donald Trump may have mistaken the New Zealand Prime Minister for Sophie Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Jacinda shared the story about Donald Trump with a friend, who then told it to a radio host on-air. She is now more wary about describing her dealings with the president. “But we’ll work with anyone!” she says. At an APEC dinner, Donald Trump pointed to Jacinda Ardern and, pointing out to the results of elections in New Zealand, said, “This lady just caused a lot of upset in her country.” To this, Jacinda gave an epic reply “No one marched when I was elected.”
“We’re small, but we do our bit by standing up for what we believe in.” Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern is quite clear in her vision of what a prime minister of New Zealand, a country with a small population of under five million, can achieve on the world stage. Jacinda points to New Zealand’s long-standing nuclear-free policy as an example and wants to apply that same moral leadership to action on climate change. “We’re surrounded by island nations who will feel the brunt of climate change. So I see us as having a responsibility.” New Zealand is undoubtedly a small contributor, to the global warming—yet carbon-heavy industries like farming, horticulture, and forestry are the country’s biggest businesses. Jacinda Ardern is ready to take those sectors on. “The most difficult thing for us to do is to mitigate and offset our agricultural emissions,” says Jacinda. “If we find a way to do that, then we’re showing other countries how to do it too.”
Jacinda Ardern didn’t want to be a Prime Minister. Not so Soon. she was from a close-knit Mormon family and wanted to start a family of her own with her partner Gayford. Jacinda and Gayford had been planning to seek medical assistance to conceive. Just three weeks after her come-from-behind election, Arden and Gayford discovered that nature had intervened. “It was a Friday night,” she said on the phone the day her pregnancy news broke. “Clarke and I just laughed about it because there was now literally nothing that could happen to me that would make this year bigger.” She adds, “But I’m not the first woman in the world to multitask.” Ardern Tweeted that she would continue as PM (after six weeks of maternity leave) and that her partner Gayford, would be a full-time stay-at-home dad. This was a beautiful surprise to all New Zealanders. A popular tweet reads, referring to the Maori name for New Zealand, “[it’s] another chance for Aotearoa to show the world what the future can look like.”
5 feet and 7 inches tall gorgeous New Zealand Prime Minister while talking to the crowd revealed a childhood aspiration to be a clown! She went on to make a comparison between clowning and politics. “Everything I’ve ever thought about doing has been in some sense about helping people,” she explained. Ardern proudly calls herself a “small-town girl,” the second one in her family to go to university! “I didn’t think I would be prime minister, because I didn’t consider it. But that’s the power of saying yes because there will be a moment when someone asks you to do something beyond your comfort zone. I am not unique.”
Jacinda Ardern has spoken about issues of poverty and homelessness in New Zealand with bluntness and fearlessness. “Yes, we believe in globalization and trade, but we also believe in you being able to benefit from that more,” says Jacinda. “For too long, we progressives have seemed like part of the system. We need to start thinking about whether or not it’s delivering for us now.”
Jacinda Ardern wasn’t too keen on being the Prime Minister of the country. She says candidly, “I could have found other ways to satisfy my life’s ambition than being prime minister,” she says. The demands of being the Prime Minister of New Zealand mean that Jacinda and Gayford seldom find time to keep up with their favorite TV shows. “She’s notorious for skipping meals, and so the most important job I’ve got is to make sure she’s eating properly,” says Gayford. Jacinda Ardern aims her politics to be kinder. Her words are always full of optimism. “It’s going to take some time,” she says, “but in the meantime, I hope people feel differently about their government.”
Jacinda Ardern represents modern women who are smart and intelligent in handling not just their family affairs but can aptly manage the affairs of an entire nation! She is the strong and bold young woman who is proving the world that women can be tough and delicate at the same time; delicate outside and tough inside.