It’s barely been 2 weeks since Jacinda Ardern was re-elected, and she’s made yet another groundbreaking move…
Ardern won a second term as Prime Minister of New Zealand after her opponent Judith Collins conceded before all the votes had been counted.
This week, the news came in that Arden has appointed the country’s first indigenous female foreign minister.
And that’s not the only positive change to come of it.
And she immediately stood out from the rest.
Ardern’s approach is certainly one of the most celebrated, especially when it comes down to how fast she acted.
According to Vogue, a recent poll found that Ardern is the country’s most popular leader in a hundred years, with ninety-two percent of respondents saying they support the measures she has implemented.
There are a whole host of other factors that have led Ardern to be held in such high regard.
On 15 March 2019, New Zealand, for the first time in its modern history, witnessed a horrific terrorist attack on the Muslim community.
Ardern, who is agnostic, held a press conference to deliver a message to bring her country’s citizens together.
“They are us,” she said of the victims. “New Zealand has been chosen because it was safe, because it was no place for hatred or racism. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it.”
Then, addressing the shooter, she said: “You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.”
She immediately implemented tighter gun laws across the nation.
And has been used as an example of how leadership should be done.
For Ardern, it’s clear that achieving gender equality is at the top of her agenda.
“Kindness, and not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy,” she has said of what is at the core of her leadership approach. “I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most.”
She is only the third female prime minister of New Zealand, and at forty-years-old, the second youngest prime minister, and the youngest female prime minister.
Ardern said that sanitary supplies for a monthly period were not a luxury, but a necessity, and that too many girls were skipping school because they weren’t able to afford pads and tampons.
“We know that nearly 95,000 9-to-eighteen-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products. By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school,” she said at the time.
And, she was once again praised for her empathetic approach to the disaster, which claimed the lives of sixteen people.
Paying tribute to those who were tragically killed, she said: “Many people did extraordinary things to save lives, those who have been lost are now forever linked to New Zealand, and we will hold them close.”
And, as the nation had expected, Arden was victorious in last month’s election, despite it being the first landslide victory in over twenty years.
Nanaia Mahuta is both the first female foreign minister and the first female Māori woman to have been given the position.
Mahuta also dons a moko kauae, a traditional Māori tattoo, on her chin, making her the country’s first female member of parliament to have one.
“We’re the first country to give women the right to vote, the first country to ensure that we are progressive on issues relating to women.”
“So I follow in the line of a long legacy of firsts for women, and I hope many other women of Māori and mixed descent across New Zealand will see this as lifting the ceiling once again on areas that have been very much closed to us in terms of professional opportunities.”
Placing it much higher than the global average of twenty-five percent.
“This is a cabinet and an executive that is based on merit that also happen to be incredibly diverse and I am proud of that. They reflect the New Zealand that elected them,” Arden said.
What an incredible step in the right direction.
For more on New Zealand, scroll on for how they handled the pandemic…