Jacinda Ardern Leaves Behind a Message to all Women


New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stepped down after six years as leader of the Labor Party. Ardern has been globally viewed as a compassionate leader ever since she became the youngest female leader in 2017; however, being a female leader has also subjected her to hate and ridicule for things her male counterparts get away with. Ardern announced, “I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple.” Many news outlets have praised Ardern for realizing her limit and being selfless enough to step down when she knows she does not have the capacity to continue being a good leader.

Ardern’s resignation has brought up the conversation of mental health in the workplace, specifically politics. NPR reports, “This could be a good starting point for other politicians to acknowledge the strain that the job takes on their personal lives and mental health,” and senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, Joshua Kurlantzick says, “[Ardern’s resignation] will be a factor that will lead other politicians to think about whether they’re impacting their mental health.” In a time of major party fighting, this serves to remind politicians that they meant to be public servants, not “party warriors”.

Ardern has been known for her compassionate leadership and speeches, like her Harvard commencement speech in 2022. She spoke about the importance of kindness, “We are the richer for our differences, and poorer for our division. After all, there are some things in life that make the world feel small and connected, let kindness be one of them.” In another show of compassion, after a 2019 terror attack on two mosques left 51 people dead, Ardern quickly denounced the gunman. Actions speak louder than words though, so Ardern tightened NZ gun laws and banned semi-automatic firearms six days after the attacks. She also made sure over 62,000 prohibited firearms were removed from circling a gun buyback scheme. Additionally, she joined President Emmanuel Macron of France in the “Christchurch Call to Action”, an organization that strives to eliminate terrorist and extremist content online. Another law Ardern is passionate about is climate change. In 2019, NZ passed the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment bill as well as helping schools and hospitals switch to cleaner energy and banning offshore oil and gas drilling, single use plastic bags.

In Ardern’s second year in office, she had a baby girl with husband Clarke Gayford; this has made major headlines throughout the years because Ardern has continuously been transparent about her life as a mother and Prime Minister. She has been applauded by moms everywhere for being upfront about juggling her duties as well as her daughter, and news outlets have applauded her for showing her “human side” as most politicians keep their personal business away from the public. Ardern also became the first world leader to bring her daughter to a United Nations meeting, complete with an official UN ID made for her daughter.
Jacinda Ardern has made headlines during her years as Prime Minister, majority being praise for her compassion for the NZ citizens, a quality that has not faded throughout her terms. Ardern continues to be an inspiration for many women in politics and in everyday life; her moments that show her as a powerful, successful woman who does not back down from hateful comments have hopefully empowered a new generation of women in male dominated positions.