26 October, 2017

No Kidding women leading New Zealand

Today we have a new Prime Minister. She is one of us, a No Kidding woman. When she was first elected as leader of her party, there was a scandal that she was asked almost immediately whether she intended having children (she's in her late 30s). Fortunately most of the conversation was about the fact that men are never asked that question, so why should reporters ask her, rather than over the issue of whether a woman could have children whilst leading the country. (Though the comment sections on websites were full of speculation about this, of course.)

As our new Prime Minister, she's commented that a personal focus of hers will be to reduce child poverty. She has been involved in this portfolio in opposition, and has said it is very important to her, and so I have no reason to suspect that she is doing this to counter the fact that she is not a parent. Her focus very nicely makes the point that you don't have to be a parent to care.

She's our third female Prime Minister, and our second who lives a No Kidding life. We've had a male Prime Minister for the last nine years, and an administration that was dominated by middle-aged white men. Before that, Helen Clark led the government for nine years, and I had become used to feeling more included in society and government, even when the focus was often on family. I have hope that once again I - and women like me - can stop feeling quite so invisible.


  1. Sounds like she’s breaking a lot of stereotypes. I also want to offer that I’ve seen a trend where those who aren’t parenting are actually more concerned about social issues. Some argue it’s because they have the bandwidth to do so (may be the case), but I also think there’s a more holistic view that’s being embraced where it’s not about “me and mine.” Which I’m a bit sensitive to at the moment given the US president who clearly embraces this attitude

  2. That is so exciting! and ideally a new shift in how things work and are spoken about...Cheers to that!

  3. Man, NZ is so progressive (in comparison with the US which is clearly .. having issues). SHe sounds like she's doing lots of good work!

  4. Yes that's progress! I hate when politicians say things like "as a mom, I care about X,Y,Z". As if women without children don't give a damn about other humans. I'm glad people were annoyed that she was asked about whether she plans to have children.

  5. I saw that! Even more impressive that she's the THIRD. I look forward to hearing more about her in the future!

    We had a female prime minister of Canada (Kim Campbell) very briefly in the early 1990s -- she was elected leader of the governing party, and promptly called an election (had to, as the mandate was running out), which she lost (horribly, including her own seat). She later served as Canada's consul-general in Los Angeles, has lectured at Harvard & been active in several women's leadership organizations. She wrote an autobiography a few years after her time as PM, which I bought and stood in line on my lunch hour to have her sign. :) Hoping there will be another someday soon...!

    I actually thought I would see a female president of the United States before I ever saw a black man elected to that office... life is funny sometimes...