Jacinda Ardern, the incumbent Prime Minister of New Zealand, announced that in six months, she will be delivering her first child. This is nothing short of creating history, as she becomes only the second prime minister in the world to give birth during her term — the first being late Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The 37-year-old leader took to her social media account to break the news: "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 (sic)," she wrote in a post.
The New Zealand Labour Party leader realised she was expecting a child just six days shy of her swearing in in October 2017. She has decided to take six weeks of maternity leave, during which, New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will step in and be the acting Prime Minister. She will resume "all prime ministerial duties" at the end of the six-week period.
“I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby,” Ardern said in a news conference Friday, as reported by The Washington Post. “We are going to make this work, and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child.”
As a staunch feminist, one of the ideas she has always championed is a woman's right to not disclose her pregnancy or her family planning to her employers — stating that it is a private matter and that women should not be judged on the basis of that.
In response to the announcement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted his congratulations to her. "Congratulations @jacindaardern on your wonderful news today. When we spoke this morning you sounded more excited than you did when you won the election! Lots of love and best wishes from me and Lucy and all of us across the ditch," read his Tweet.
Even the Green party leader, James Shaw, took the opportunity to laud her, and stated that this reflects upon their progressive values as a nation. “That a woman can be the prime minister of New Zealand and choose to have a family while in office says a lot about the kind of country we are and that we can be – modern, progressive, inclusive, and equal,” Shaw said, according to this report on The Guardian, adding, “For that reason I know this announcement will be significant for many women, in particular, and that all New Zealanders will share in the prime minister’s joy today.”
In January 1990, Benazir Bhutto gave birth to her second child, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, thus becoming the first ever prime minister to become a mother during her term.