Gals in our country can’t get through their 20’s without being asked a few typical questions by padoss ki aunties. But what we didn’t know was that this is a global phenomenon!
New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern is quite unlike any other Prime Minister the world has seen. For starters, she’s an erudite world leader and a mum who rapidly rose to power despite an unexpected pregnancy. So we’d assume you’d find a sea of topics (including Brexit and NZ’s hopes of a free trade deal with the UK) to discuss with the woman. Then why in God’s name would one ask her the most predictably stereotypical question known to womankind?
Any guesses? Haanji, betaji..shaadi kar rahe ho?
The 38-year-old leader is on a tour of the United Kingdom and Europe. Having met Theresa May and later Meghan Markle at Kensington Palace, Jacinda sat down with the BBC for an interview. The conversation did cover a number of subjects.
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For anyone today at the meet and greet who asked me to pass on something (like a Christmas decoration) to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, here is proof that I did! Thanks to everyone who has shown our guests such hospitality and kindness. You’ve more than made up for the weather
However, much like a typical aunty, the interviewer, Victoria Derbyshire asked Ardern when she plans to marry! While pertinent matters of state were a critical topic of discussion, Jacinda’s ‘single or married’ status was not. Nevertheless, Victoria quizzed the politician whether she had plans to ask her partner Clarke Gayford (a fishing show host) to marry her.
The prime minister laughed loudly at the question and politely responded. “No I would not ask, no,” she told Derbyshire. Take a sneak peek at the awkward and unwarranted question for yourself-
"I want to put [my partner] through the torture and pain of having to agonise about that question himself"
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) January 21, 2019
The interviewer then chose another line of attack by asking her if she was a feminist!
“Oh absolutely, absolutely I am a feminist. But no, I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonise about that question himself, that’s letting him off the hook, absolutely not,” Ardern said gracefully.
Then just like every middle-aged nosy relative you dread meeting at Indian weddings, Derbyshire said, “Ok fair enough, we await that day.” Indeed wait they shall, for unlike them, the PM is clearly busy running a country!
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Kicked off day one of Leaders Week at the UN with the Social Good Summit, a bilateral with the Secretary General and a trade function with New Zealanders based here. Will do a quick update on the week ahead tomorrow – apologies if the time of day that I do that is a little uncivilised. Time zones!
Ardern was also asked if she felt “guilt” about balancing her role as a Mum and also as a prime minister, reports News AU.
On the up-side, netizens who saw the interview were rankled and their outrage at the questions does prove that we’re headed in the right direction. Here’s how Twitterati reacted-
In stead of taking a jab at Jacinda Ardern's feminism maybe Victoria Derbyshire should look at her sexist interview questions, including asking Ardern how she balances motherhood and running a country and whether she feels guilty about it 🙄🙄🙄https://t.co/oM5SzXZE1P
— Alexandra Sinclair (@alexandrasinc10) January 22, 2019
This man hits the nail on the head. Could you imagine a male politician being asked when he’s going to settle down? We sure can’t.
Absolutely. She is a young, vibrant woman & all these interviewers want to ask her is about marriage and her child. She is N.Z Prime Minister and should be treated with the respect that a male in that role would be. I think she answered the question honestly when put on the spot.
— Bjbuck (@bjbuck56) January 23, 2019
Also, since when does not popping the question to your man put your feminism under question?
Since when was the entry requirements of feminism linked to marriage proposals? I missed this meeting. Shame on the BBC for being so inane.
— Johnny Andrews (@mrjohnnyandrews) January 23, 2019
The #primeminister of #newzealand and yet you still ask her about #family life; and question if shes a #feminist. SHES RUNNING A COUNTRY, surely thats enough #feminist for anyone? Shame on you @vicderbyshire and well done @jacindaardern to dealing with this with grace and humour.
— Greta McLachlan (@GeeMcLachlan) January 22, 2019
As heartening as it is to see people strongly oppose the sexist questions; you must take a second to gawk at Jacinda’s impressive badassery ever since she took office. Here are 3 times she couldn’t have made the fairer sex prouder!
1. Ahem.. baby plans Jacinda?
In 2017, when she was swiftly promoted to Labour leader right before a general election, an NZ television show host asked of her’ baby plans’. They further insinuated that women should have to tell their employers they were considering having children. Jacinda’s response shall win your hearts.
“You … it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace!” said Ardern.
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I know, I know. Politician and baby etc. I met this beautiful wee one today at the launch of our families package and couldn't help but be reminded that this is what we're here for. Our job as Labour MPs is to write policy and ideas that help support people through the most important moments of their lives. It's why I do politics. If you're interested in reading all about our plans, you'll find them here! www.labour.org.nz/delivering_for_families
2. What date exactly did you conceive your baby..was it during the election campaign?
Just last year Australian journalist Charles Wooley introduced the NZ PM by saying-
“I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time, but none too young and not so many so smart, and never one so attractive.”
He then asked the then-pregnant Jacinda when the baby was conceived and if it had happened during the election campaign!
Ardern stunned the political world by saving NZ Labour from an electoral landslide and then defied expectations by forming a coalition with a centrist party, with the support of the Greens, to win the 2017 election. In doing so she became one of the youngest leaders in the world as well as the second world leader to give birth while in office! Now there’s a wonder woman if there ever was one!
3. She’s the first female world leader to attend the UN General Assembly with her newborn
Need we say more? Move past the shaadi and baby questions folks! This world leader is light years ahead of such patriarchy!