Newly-elected Opposition leader Jacinda Ardern says it is “totally unacceptable” to ask women in 2017 if they are planning to have children.
The 37-year-old, who replaced Andrew Little in a surprise move on Tuesday as head of the Labour Party, told AM Show host Mark Richardson he had gone too far inquiring about her baby plans.
Mr Richardson had suggested “this is a legitimate question for New Zealand, because she could be the prime minister running this country. She has our best interests at heart, so we need to know these things”.
While she said she was not offended because she had talked about the issue in public before, she told the morning show host: “For other women, it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace.”
It was the woman’s decision about when they choose to have children, she added. “It should not predetermine whether or not they get the job.”
Earlier this year Ms Ardern, who has no children so far, told the New Zealand Herald she wanted to become a mother, which would
make being the party’s leader
“I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive,” she said at the time.
“If we want Parliament to reflect New Zealand as a society, then we should be able to accommodate both. But at the same time, it’s always going to be hard, because you’re split-living,” she added.
Ms Ardern is the youngest Labour leader in the party’s history and only the second woman in the position, former prime minister Helen Clark being the other.
he was voted in as leader after Mr Little bowed out due to a series of poor polls for the party.
Current Prime Minister Bill English has six children. DPA