Today we’re adding to our Another Day in Socially Progressive New Zealand series with an examination of how a woman’s ability to reproduce impacts on her career.
Or looking at it in a different way, a reminder that a woman’s role in New Zealand is to procreate first and foremost, careers are merely a nice-to-have adjunct to Traditional Kiwi Motherhood (™) in the country that recently plunged in the Best Place to be a Mother index.
Readers may remember Prime Minister Helen Clark was often criticised by her countrymen for not being a mother, and ‘putting her career first’. Its worth noting that when she left politics, she also left New Zealand. No doubt sick of the endless carping and snarking about her child-free status and gender identity.
In the last few days Jacinta Ardern has been elected leader of New Zealand’s Labour Party. She’s widely considered to be New Zealand’s version of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s charismatic Prime Minister. She is now a top contender for Clark’s old job of Prime Minister, and is supreme brood mare in waiting and the subject of sexism on all fronts.
“Pretty Little Thing” “Zip it Sweetie”
Ardern has been tipped for the top job for a few years and has endured sexist put-downs for some time. This from National Business Review August 2015
Ms Ardern’s strong showing was discussed on Paul Henry’s breakfast show, with guest Graham Lowe saying the Labour list MP was “a pretty little thing” who would “look good” as prime minister.
“She speaks pretty smart,” Mr Lowe added…
Mr Lowe (69) later told media, ” I was trying to compliment her. I come from an era where calling someone pretty was one of the highest compliments you could give and so I did.”
Since her appointment, Ardern has been knocked down in New Zealand for being young, female, childless, and worst of all … needing to take maternity leave in future to raise a family. Along with breast feeding in parliament, these are stumbling blocks that her male NZ parliamentary colleagues have to seldom negotiate. For them career is another word for featherbedding, tax havens, casinos and ponytail pulling.
For the ruling National Party, having the charismatic Ardern in labour is something to be both feared and played on. Let the negative press floodgates open as every method is made to undermine her popularity.
Is it 2017 or 1957, when headlines such as this dominate the NZ press?
New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has fiercely defended women in the workplace against what she says are “unacceptable” questions about whether they plan to have children.
Talk of Ms Ardern’s political plans took a detour overnight, becoming dominated by discussion over whether it’s acceptable to ask her about plans to have children after the question was put to her on The Project….
On Wednesday morning, Ms Ardern traded shots with AM Show sports presenter Mark Richardson, who argued employers – and in Ms Ardern’s case the New Zealand public – need to know whether women are planning on having babies because employers are required to provide paid parental leave.
“I think it’s a legitimate question for New Zealand, because she could be the Prime Minister leading this country. She has our best interest at heart. We need to know these things.
“If you’re the employer at a company, you need to know that type of thing from the women you’re employing,”…
Here’s how NZ social media reacted to Ardern’s treatment.
The considered, rational response from Twitter
The response from the bottom dwellers of Reddit New Zealand
Are you a woman intending to migrate to New Zealand for career purposes? Be sure to get your child rearing out of the way first.
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