New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant with her first child. The father is her partner Clarke Gayford, a television presenter on a fishing show.
‘Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three, and that we’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,’ the 37-year-old wrote in a Facebook post. ‘I’ll be Prime Minister and a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad. I think it’s fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn’t be more excited.’
The PM confirmed that she would be taking six weeks maternity after the birth, with her deputy Winston Peters stepping in to cover her. She also said she would be ‘fully contactable’ during her leave, and that she intended to resume ‘all prime ministerial duties’ afterwards. Her pregnancy was confirmed to her just six days before she became Prime Minister, in what was one of the tightest campaigns in recent history.
The news comes after Ardern had to defend herself against questions over whether or not she planned to become a mother back in August, when she was elected head of the Labour party.
Addressing TV host Mark Richardson, she said: ‘It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is unacceptable, it is unacceptable. It is a women’s decision about when they choose to have children, and it should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities.’
Ardern is the third female Prime Minister of New Zealand, with Jenny Shipley being the first in 1997 and Helen Clark in 1999.
The only other elected female leader to give birth while in office is Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, who had her daughter Bakhtawar in 1990. It was during her time as leader of the opposition, before she was elected Prime Minister for a second term in 1993, making Ardern the first sitting Prime Minister to be pregnant ever.