The Corner

Culture

Claims of Sexism in New Zealand Don’t Have Much Evidence

The newly elected leader of the New Zealand Labour party, Jacinda Ardern, became a feminist icon this morning after two TV and radio show hosts asked her what effect starting a family would have on her should she become prime minister in September.

As an example of the reactions, here’s one from the Guardian’s “life” section:

Age: 37.

Location: The dark ages.

The actual dark ages? Well, no. But close. New Zealand.

Steady on, New Zealand is great. Yes, it’s a wonderful country. It just seems a bit, you know, regressive sometimes.

Do tell. Jacinda Ardern was unanimously elected as Labour leader on 1 Aug. It’s a big deal, since she’s the youngest Labour leader in the history of the country. She’s fresh and vibrant, and has the potential to become New Zealand’s Trudeau.

That doesn’t sound regressive. No, that was something that happened seven hours after she became leader, during an appearance on television show The Project.

What happened? The show’s host asked her the following question: “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 … is that a decision you feel you have to make?”

And, as always, some Tweets:

If both men and women agree that the job-or-child dilemma exists, and Ardern herself welcomes questions about it, what exactly is the problem?

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