“I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby.”
A true statement, but things are a little different when you are the leader of a country. New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern recently announced she is expecting her first child. Not only will Ardern take six weeks maternity leave, her partner will become a “stay-at-home-dad”.
“We are joining the many parents out there who wear two hats. I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad,” she posted on social media.
Ardern’s news made headlines around the world, and unsurprisingly, a huge wave of support greeted the news. As women all over the world make difficult choices and decisions when it comes to motherhood and their careers, many see Ardern as an inspiration.
“This is first and foremost a personal moment for her — but it also helps demonstrate to young women that holding leadership positions needn’t be a barrier to having children (if you want to),” tweeted Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland.
Of course, there was criticism. Some asked if Ardern’s pregnancy might affect her ability to lead the Government effectively. Her response? “None of them detected I had pretty bad morning sickness for three months of establishing the government.”
Safe Motherhood Week carried out a survey in 2016, asking women whether being pregnant had affected their employment status. Unfortunately, over one-third of women surveyed reported that their pregnancy had hampered their advancement in their workplace, and 14 per cent felt actively discriminated against.
Did you feel that your pregnancy impacted your career? Did you have to make difficult decisions? Were you treated with respect by your colleagues and co-workers? Share your story HERE.