A television host’s question on motherhood to the new leader of New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party has prompted a row over gender roles in the country that was the first to give women the right to vote. Jacinda Ardern was elected head of Labour on Tuesday, and at 37 she is the youngest person, and second woman (Helen Clark, the first, was also a prime minister), to lead the party. The headlines about her so far have been enthusiastic. She’s being portrayed as “authentic,” “powerful, composed, and eloquent”—all traits she’ll need when New Zealand votes next month in parliamentary elections. Her party’s poor performance in the polls prompted Andrew Little, its leader, to step down. Ardern, who had been spoken of as a future party leader, ascended to the post almost immediately. But if persuading the electorate that Labour is worth voting for is one battle for Ardern, her other battle was persuading television panelists that her future plans for motherhood was irrelevant to her potential leadership of New Zealand. She and her partner, Clarke Gayford, don’t have children, and Ardern has previously discussed how wanting children has made her think about her professional choices. But the questions about parenthood began a few hours after her election Tuesday as Labour’s leader.Full Article: How Motherhood Became an Election Issue in New Zealand - The Atlantic.
Aug 4 2017