Yesterday Jacinda Ardern was unanimously elected as the leader of the New Zealand Labour party. With the country just two months away from a general election, and support for the party at an all time low, Ardern has a big job on her hands.
Following the annoucement of her appointment, the youngest ever Labour party leader (Ardern is 37), spent the evening appearing on TV show, The Project. However, instead of focusing on her new role and strategy for the party at this crucial time, TV host Jesse Mulligan decided to quiz Ardern on her plans to have a family.
Collective eye roll. We all know they wouldn't ask a man the same thing...
'I’ve got a question and we’ve been discussing today whether or not I’m allowed to ask it', Mulligan started.
'A lot of women in New Zealand feel like they have to make a choice between having babies and having a career or continuing their career … so is that a decision you feel you have to make or that you feel you’ve already made?' he asked.
Ardern, only the second woman to lead the party, took to questioning very well considering the circumstances.
'I have no problem with you asking me that question because I have been very open about discussing that dilemma because I think probably lots of women face it,' Arden replied.
'For me, my position is no different to the woman who works three jobs, or who might be in a position where they are juggling lots of responsibilities,' she continued.
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However, the story does not end there. The next morning Arden appeared on Mark Richardson's breakfast radio show where the subject was broached again.
Richardson commented that the New Zealand population had the right to know whether a politician was planning to take maternity leave.
'If you are the employer of a company you need to know that type of thing from the woman you are employing … the question is, is it OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?' Richardson asked Arden.
Arden was, quite understandably, pretty angry at the situation. She highlighted that it was a woman's right to keep her childbearing plans to herself, and it was illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace based on whether they planned to have children.
'It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is unacceptable,' she said.
'It is a woman's decision about when they choose to have children and it should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities.'
Hear hear to that!