New Zealand PM makes UN history with first baby in General Assembly hall

2018-09-26 13:06

New Zealand's prime minister has been proclaimed a history maker for taking "first baby" – daughter Neve – into the United Nations General Assembly hall, shaking up what is still a boys' club of world leaders.

Photographs of Jacinda Ardern, 38, kissing and bouncing her three-month-old in the main hall at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on the eve of the General Assembly have gone around the world and taken the internet by storm.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed on Tuesday that it had been the first time in the organisation's 73-year history that a woman leader had taken her newborn into the assembly room.

"It's altogether a good thing and we were delighted to have Neve in the General Assembly hall. With only 5% of world leaders women, we should do everything to make them feel as welcome as possible," he added.

The sight of Neve and her father, who is her chief care giver, watching Ardern at work has attracted plenty of positive commentary in a United States, where many worry the Trump administration imperils women's rights.

"I cannot stress how much the @UN -- and the governments that comprise it -- need this," tweeted former US ambassador to the United Nations turned Harvard professor Samantha Power, herself a mother of two.

Ardern, currently the youngest woman leader in the world, is only the second female prime minister to give birth while serving in office, after Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto in 1990. She says she wants to blaze a trail for other women.

"I want to normalise it," Ardern told CNN.

"If we want to make work places more open, we need to acknowledge logistical challenges... by being more open it might create a path for other women."

She's also the first to admit she's not a typical working mother.

Media darling

"What I consistently acknowledge is that I have assistants who help Clarke with the ability to juggle his career and be our primary caregiver," she was quoted as saying by CNN.

Her television presenting partner has also been feted on American social media, fueling the love by tweeting a photograph of his daughter's UN ID designating her "New Zealand First Baby".

"I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change. Great yarn for her 21st," he wrote.

Pregnancy, motherhood and governing have turned her into a poster child for feminism against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement in the United States.

Her first UN General Assembly outing has turned her into something of a media darling, conducting a whirlwind of television interviews, with a slot on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Wednesday.

Through it all, she has chosen to champion the modernity of a country of fewer than five million residents, already on its third female premier.

"I never grew up believing my gender would stand in the way of doing anything I wanted," she said.

"I credit the women who came before me and credit New Zealanders for welcoming me having a child... I'm proud of the nation."

Its a popularity she's no doubt enjoying. In power just under a year, she has been troubled by political difficulties at home in recent weeks following the resignation of two cabinet ministers.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    un  |  jacinda ardern  |  new zealand

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.