As a lady, I never grew up thinking that my gender would always be an obstacle to my way of doing what I wanted in life. I am, after all, not the first, but the third female New Zealand Prime Minister (Jacinda Ardern, UN speech- 2017)

Define a Modern Day Superwoman? Someone who tactfully manages both home and country with grace, minus any iota of complaint especially during crisis time like the present.

Oh, you mean New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern.

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, New Zealand’s 40th and present Prime Minister, is what perfect leadership should be. Born in the tiny North Island forestry town of Murupara, Ardern was raised by a policeman father and an educator mother, the blend of both which is evident in her governance. Kill them with kindness, has always been the go-to weapon to operate, function under her reign. She describes capitalism as a blatant failure because it fails the people falling in the low income front thus caring for each and every. 

Sure but isn’t this part of her professional obligation? What’s so inspiringly different about her? We’ve had many women in the past who’ve carved down their name battling patriarchy in their respective field, weathering the storm. Right, hold on to my beer.

Call her a celebrity turned politician as she jibed her away as an unconventional ‘People Person’ from the very start. Known for breaking the internet from her infamous viral video of “two year under two minutes’ challenge, she talked about the achievements of her government over the last two years. It covered topics such as job creation, measures taken by the government to help the environment and new policies sanctioned, to name a few. It is her this active involvement in social media that gives chance to people to connect with her in person. Unfiltered. Uncensored. Truly how the relationship with her public should be, open and transparent.

But the core reason why she continues to inspire many worldwide is her challenging attitude and guts to break all possible stereotypes the world has ever heard of. Let’s distill this down by listing it all. Ardern joined the office back within six weeks from giving birth to her baby, remaining a visible working mother, who discussed policy via Facebook Live videos with her little born audible in the background. Mike drop idol to new generation young girls. Her main concerns throughout her governance have been child poverty via wellbeing budget- an issue dear to Ardern’s heart and mental health which is a clear issue across the world principally evident during Covid. 

It was her prompt action of changing gun laws within the 10 days bracket post the horrendous massacre in two Christchurch mosques in March 2019 that spoke about her boldness when it comes to making decisions, which other world leaders can take lessons on. The way she diligently refused to utter the name of the terrorist even once keeping incognito regarding the name, religion or citizenship of the terrorist, justifies for her he was just another terrorist, criminal and extremist. As clarity on identity might spike future riots, a very smart move by her to avoid any communal drama alltogether. When US President Trump called her for support, she asked him to “give sympathy and love for all Muslim communities”. This the level of maturity needed to handle social concerns, which she’s expert by now. Empathy as thy solution.

The action is said to speak louder than words. Her gesture championed inclusion when she chose to wear a headscarf while visiting the affected families from the attack. She didn’t have to, but, as a show of condolence, she did. Also while addressing the crowd in Hagley Park post Christchurch attack, she donned a Maori cloak, opened up the speech in the Maori language and then continued in English while making an interpreter sign the message in the sign language of New Zealand. These subtle actions speak volumes about her personality as an ideal leader.

She celebrates diversity and has constructed her political strength on the unity of the country, as opposed to divisive politics based on race and religion. Jacinda addressed the UN General Assembly in the wake of the shooting and argued for kindness and collectivism, as opposed to Trump’s call for America’s embrace of patriotism, and rejection of globalisation. The millennial Jacinda shines out among other state leaders, who hold narrow views on nationalism. Another brownie points for kindness and compassion she earns here. 

The true test of leadership is the ability to cope with people’s fear, which she consistently tackles. Even the earthquake couldn’t shake her (literally) from addressing the public live in an interview, highlighting her dedication. Selfless to the core. Many world leaders attempted to communicate the science behind the pandemic outbreak without knowing much about it. Jacinda didn’t pretend to be an expert neither did she expect the public to be experts. All she did was be there for her public via daily press briefings, broadcast live to address any questions. Clarity of the message aptly delivered by her during the crisis scene. Not surprising why New Zealand was the first country to beat Covid 19 under her tenure.

Ardern’s policy accomplishments can be best described as modest as she ticked all boxes and beyond. All these positive actions signaling towards a progressive government were conceived and implemented by her. Truly New Zealand is now not just known for its kiwi and tourism after all. She wrote history in redefining modern day leadership and management. The fact that she won the second term as Prime Minister of New Zealand, after her successful reign in the country’s handling the coronavirus outbreak, with a landslide victory testifies her credentials. Certainly grounded, filled with gratitude, positivity, and optimism, a leader who not only thanks her followers but also the people who didn’t vote in her support. She promises a better future with a plan not just before the elections but also when been elected. This inspires and makes her, most people all time favourite personality. A true warrior to get her country out of tough times now and always.

Based on how they react to circumstances, you can say a lot about individuals. There are some people who shy away and some people who step up. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stepped up and set an example that each of us can do so too! She continues to remind us of our humanity in this data driven AI world and the importance of living our values. 

The viruses of hatred, of terror, of others are not immune to us. We never are, but we’re going to be the state that seeks the antidote”- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Prevention rather than cure has always been her motto. A true leader steering by convention with a soaring empathy for inclusion and values. Use your difference to make a difference. Truly Inspiring. Craving for authenticity, responsibility backed up by humanism from our leaders, it’s not wrong in stating: we need more leaders like her globally.

If you are in a country that lacks good leadership right now, feel free to borrow our Prime minister Jacinda Ardern,” writes a New Zealander on Twitter. Where should we sign in then? Not an i(con) but indeed, a ‘WoWman’

Divya Thakur, Mumbai

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