Image: Jacinda Ardern / Nevada Halbert / Wikimedia Commons
An astounding thing happened last night. Jacinda Ardern became the Prime Minister Elect of New Zealand.
She’s been the Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party for just over two months. Before that, she was named the Deputy Leader in March. She will be the second youngest Prime Minister New Zealand has ever had and its third female Prime Minister. Her meteoric rise means that she has undoubtedly staked out her place in the history books.
With the uphill battle she has faced, she deserves it.
Her victory is a victory for young women in New Zealand. As she wrote for Villainesse in 2015, Prime Minister Ardern is a feminist. She is passionate about making the world a better place for everyone, but she has spoken out ardently (pun intended) on issues that are particularly important to young women. The cost of education. The legal status of abortion. The housing crisis. Poverty. This is a Prime Minister who will fight for women.
With this change in leadership comes hope. New Zealand has some serious problems and fixing them will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that this new, energised team seems eager to face. The next three years stretch out before us rather uncertainly, so it is up to the new Government to take bold steps to lead us in the right direction.
While the political analysis of this latest twist in the most riveting election in decades will likely drag on for days, there are a few things it’s worth pointing out. Between 1997 and 2017, we will have had three female leaders who have run the show for a combined approximately 11 years out of 20. The most recent of the three overcame a prolonged period of being called everything from a “pretty little thing” to “star dust” to take the top job. In New Zealand, we’ve said to the world, girls can do anything.
And as for all of the people who underestimated her; who called her a “flake”, asked her about babies, talked over her and questioned her competence – now, surely, it is their turn to “zip it, sweetie”. The future is here, whether they like it or not.
Prime Minister Ardern. May that name go down as one of the greats.Support Villainesse