New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Just Had Her Baby. Here’s How She’ll Handle Her Maternity Leave
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a baby, a girl, on Thursday.
Ardern, age 37, is just the second elected world leader to give birth while in office, and the first in nearly three decades to do so. The last leader to have a baby while in office was Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan, in 1990.
Ardern announced she was pregnant with her first child in January, just three months after entering the prime minister’s office. She will take six weeks of parental leave, returning to office in August. At that time, her partner Clarke Gayford will stay at home with their daughter. In the interim, Ardern has passed her duties on to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.
At the same time, Ardern does not plan to entirely shirk her duties while on leave. She plans to continue reading cabinet papers and said in an interview days ago that she and Deputy Prime Minister Peters “already talk about significant issues, that will just continue, we’ll just be in different roles.”
Ardern has strongly refuted the notion that motherhood would interfere with her ability to lead the country. “I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby; there are many women who have done this before,” she told Radio New Zealand.
The prime minister, who had been given a due date of June 17, only stopped flying to the capital on June 11. She then continued to work from her home in Auckland up until the day before going into labor.