There are many reasons to be impressed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, but this South African Women’s Month, as we re-look at the #breakingthebias theme put forward earlier in the year for International Women’s Day, the one reason we want to highlight is how she has worked to break the gender bias in politics, and at work.
Firstly, she was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017 and despite being the third female Prime Minister to hold this position in the country, it’s nonetheless a pretty mean feat in a world where politics is still considered “a man’s world”.
Secondly, she was unmarried (and still is) when she and partner Clarke Gayford announced they were pregnant. She laughed off any negative comments and said they just hadn’t gotten around to it yet as it didn’t seem to be a priority.
Thirdly, not only did she take a 6-week maternity leave, she also used her platform to advocate for more baby care options for families. In 2018, for instance, after her maternity leave, she and partner Clarke Gayford were photographed with baby Neve in the UN General Assembly meeting. Ms Ardern was very clear on the matter: she was breastfeeding, so the baby’s presence on the work trip was non-negotiable and made possible by partner Clarke being the primary caregiver. In one fell swoop, she helped break the gender bias in so many ways, helping to normalise the idea of bringing children to work, dads being hands-on primary caregivers and talking openly about breastfeeding at work.
Of course, she has continued to lead her country formidably, sometimes with a baby (literally) on her hip. What a woman!
We asked a few of the female Content Lab Crew members which gender bias they would like to see broken, or in fact break themselves. We caught some of the comments on video, which can be seen on our Instagram page here.
“We love that gender bias conversations are becoming commonplace nowadays.”
We love that women are demanding equal pay, speaking up, taking on leadership roles, serving on boards, mentoring other women and just generally not accepting this “man’s world” stereotype anymore. Onward and upward, ladies! And let’s not forget the reason we celebrate women’s day in the first place – not because the 20 000 women who marched to parliament were out for women’s right, but because they were fighting for human rights, for the right to no longer carry pass books, whether male or female. It’s good to see that we are starting to move in the direction of women’s rights being championed by not only more and more women, but by unthreatened men too.
And while we may not all be elected president or prime minister, there is absolutely no reason we can’t work our way to the very top of whichever industry we’re in, and be mothers, and pursue our personal goals.
Happy Women’s Day to all the female Content Lab Crew members, customers, clients, artists, suppliers, family members and friends. May you have a wonderful day and let me leave you with this thought:
Is there a gender bias YOU would like to see broken? Is there anything you can do to help break it?