New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Points Out That She Won't Be The First Working Mother

"This year we'll join the many parents who wear two hats."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday that she and her partner Clarke Gayford are expecting their first child. Ardern will reportedly be only the second modern elected leader to give birth while in office. (The first was late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1990.) However, she herself was quick to point out just how many parents, including women, juggle work and family every day.


Ardern shared the news on social media. "This year we'll join the many parents who wear two hats," she captioned a photo of three fish hooks, a reference to Gayford's role as host of the New Zealand television series Fish of the Day. In a statement, she also shared their plan for when the baby arrives, as Gayford will be a stay-at-home dad when Ardern goes back to work after six weeks of maternity leave, during which time Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will act in her place.

"Clarke and I are privileged to be in the position where Clarke can stay home to be our primary caregiver," Ardern acknowledged in the statement, according to Mashable. "Knowing that so many parents juggle the care of their new babies, we consider ourselves to be very lucky."

Ardern shared that she knew about the pregnancy in October, but she and Gayford chose to keep it to themselves. She added that the news was a "fantastic surprise," as the couple had been told they would "need help" to have a child.

As for her role as a working mother? Ardern was quick to remind reporters that she's hardly the first. 

"I am not the first woman to multitask," she said. "I'm not the first woman to work and have a baby. I know these are special circumstances, but there will be many women who will have done this well before I have."

Ardern's announcement received a positive response on Twitter, where former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark wrote, "Every woman should have the choice of combining family & career."

Ardern's news also brings to mind an interview she gave last year after she was elected leader of New Zealand's Labour Party, when a host argued that employers had a right to ask women about their plans for children.

"It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace," Ardern said at the time. "It is a woman's decision about when they choose to have children. It should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or if they have job opportunities."

We hope Ardern's journey into parenthood will set an example for how the world should treat (and talk about) working mothers.

(H/T: CNN)


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