Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has downplayed a portrayal of her as trailblazing mother and national leader in New York, saying she is “not the gold standard” for raising a child.
After delivering a speech about child poverty at UNICEF's social good summit, Ms Ardern appeared on a panel where she was praised for inspiring women juggling motherhood and a career.
“Thank you for putting in that caveat, because anytime anyone remarks on the fact that I’m only the second leader in the world to have a child in office, I’m reminded I’m lucky, I have an incredible support network around me,” she said.
“I have the ability to take my child to work, there’s not many places you can do that, I am not the gold standard for bringing up a child in this current environment because there are things about my circumstances that are not the same.”
Ms Ardern told the panel flexible working arrangements, extended parental leave and spaces at workplaces for breastfeeding made it easier for mothers but there needed to be a cultural shift.
Ultimately, we can provide all of that but unless there is a culture that accepts that children are part of our workplaces, then we won’t change anything,” she said.
“If I can do one thing and that is change the way we think about these things, then I will pleased we have achieved something.”