Last week, New Zealand’s Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern, announced that she and her partner, Clarke, are expecting a baby in June.
We thought 2017 was a big year! This year we’ll join the many parents who wear two hats. I’ll be PM & a mum while Clarke will be “first man of fishing” & stay at home dad. There will be lots of questions (I can assure you we have a plan all ready to go!) but for now bring on 2018 pic.twitter.com/nowAYOhAbF
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) January 18, 2018
The announcement, whilst completely out of the blue for anyone not in Jacinda and Clarke’s inner circle, was greeted with congratulations from around the world. It also prompted a lot of discussion around the role of motherhood and the pressures of being a working mum.
“Jacinda Ardern is capable of being our Prime Minister and a mother, and it will add insight and joy to her work and we should celebrate that,” former prime minister Dame Jenny Shipley said.
Wishing @jacindaardern & @NZClarke all the best as they expect their 1st child in June: a super busy year coming up & much to look forward to. Every #woman should have the choice of combining family & career. https://t.co/Ma6B6OGXJe
— Helen Clark (@HelenClarkNZ) January 18, 2018
The Prime Minister became aware of the pregnancy during coalition talks after the election.
Not the first
Jacinda is set to join a select group of world leaders who have welcomed a new baby into their family during their tenure. Even more so, only one other female leader in modern history has given birth whilst in power. In 1990, Benazir Bhutto, gave birth to a daughter whilst Prime Minster of Pakistan. She had also previously given birth while campaigning in 1988. The existing President called for a democratic election after learning that she was pregnant, reportedly to plot her downfall. In his mind, a pregnant woman couldn’t possibly campaign, let alone win – which she did.
Thankfully the political climate in New Zealand is definitely more baby-friendly. Speaker of the house, Trevor Mallard, has been known to take care of legislators’ babies during parliamentary debates.
Jacinda plans to take 6 weeks of maternity leave after the birth of the baby, with her partner Clarke taking on the primary caregiver role after her return to work.