Inspirational female leaders 2020 - Jacinda Arden - the leader of our times

Inspirational female leaders 2020 - Jacinda Arden - the leader of our times

Inspirational female leaders of 2020 - Jacinda Arden - Why she's the leader for our times

Today WTX has nominated Jacinda Arden, New Zealand’s youngest female prime minister. In October 2020, Jacinda Arden won a landslide victory and her Labour Party secured another 3 years in the country’s general election.

jacinda garden victory speech

“New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in almost 50 years. We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.” Watch here

jacinda ardern achievements

  • Arden set new norms as a world leader when she gave birth, took six weeks of maternity leave and shared that her partner will be a stay-at-home dad. 
  • She rose to power on a tide of “Jacindamanai” – at 38 she became the youngest female leader in the world and NZ’s youngest PM in 150 years.
  • She won a landslide victory for her second term in October 2020. 
  • Arden and her Labour Party promise an “empathetic” government with ambitious plans to tackle climate change and child poverty. 
  • Global praise for her incredible handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. New Zealand eliminated the virus in both waves. 
  • A recent poll found Arden is the country’s most popular leader in 100 years. Almost 92 per cent of respondents say they support the measures she has implemented. 

What makes a woman inspirational?

why jacinda ardern is a leader for our times

Covid-19

There have been several key defining moments in Jacinda’s political career that have launched her into the minds and hearts of many. 

Her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is perhaps what launched her into global attention. Whilst other countries remained indecisive over the pandemic, Arden acted quickly and firmly. Arden remained consistent and direct about her strategy and has shown her authenticity when expressing her concerns. 

New Zealand currently has only 25 Covid-19 deaths. 

Christchurch shootings

Another key moment in Jacinda Arden’s term as prime minister was the horrific terrorist attack on the Muslim community in which 51 people died.  

“They are us,” she said of the victims. “New Zealand has been chosen because it was safe, because it was no place for hatred or racism. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it,” she said at a press conference. 

Then, addressing the shooter, she said: “You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.” Her next move? She immediately implemented tighter gun laws across the nation.

jacinda ardern family

Jacinda and her partner Clarke Gayford welcomed their first child in 2018. Jacinda became the first head of government to give birth in office since Benazir Bhutto. Arden became the world’s first leader to take maternity leave whilst in office. 

Before becoming a mother, Arden once shut down a TV host who asked her whether a woman still had to choose between a career or a family. 

She replied: “[That is] totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace.”

Her government also passed a bill to extend paid parental leave policies from 18 to 22 weeks in New Zealand.

Her passion for climate change

“We’re small, and our contribution to the global emissions profile is even smaller, but we are surrounded by island nations who will feel the brunt of climate change acutely,” she has said of New Zealand’s role in the global battle against the climate crisis. “I see ourselves as having a responsibility to demonstrate that we can and we will lead the charge.”

In 2018, she set out her plan to ban single-use plastic bags throughout the country, with retailers facing fines of $65,000 (£33,000) if they failed to do so. Why? Because she had received so many letters from school children about the issue, she knew she needed to act.

Quick Facts

 

What is the salary of Jacinda Arden?

According to NewsHub (Apr 2019): Ardern earns NZ$471,049 per year.

jacinda ardern age

Born 26 July 1980, Jacinda Arden is 40 years old. 

Jacinda Arden Birthplace

Hamilton, New Zealand

Jacinda Arden birth name

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern

Jacinda Arden parents

Ross Ardern, police officer & Laurell Ardern, school cook

Jacinda Arden baby

with Clarke Gayford: Neve Te Aroha

Jacinda Arden education

Waikato University, B.A., 2001, communications studies

Jacinda Arden religion

Agnostic

 

What is a strong woman quote?

“Even the ugliest of viruses can exist in places they are not welcome. Racism exists, but it is not welcome here. Because we are not immune to the viruses of hate, of fear, of others. We never have been. But we can be the nation that discovers the cure.” Jacinda Arden on racism. 

Jacinda Arden compassion after Christchurch Covid-19 female leaders

Jacinda Arden is recognized globally

jacinda ardern leadership style

Solidarity 

“There are many factors which demonstrate that Jacinda Ardern is a great leader, but from a human rights perspective, it was her masterful handling of the Christchurch shootings which really stood out. Around the world – from Brazil, India, Turkey, to even the USA and the UK – we have seen the rise of nationalism and populism. Nationalist and populist rhetoric typically comes at the expense of minorities and the already disenfranchised, be that on grounds of gender, faith, race, caste, or sexuality, within those countries.”

“When faced with a white supremacist attack on New Zealand’s Muslim community, Jacinda Ardern preached social cohesion and solidarity. Following Jacinda Ardern’s lead, the people of New Zealand stood side by side with the victims of the atrocity. Demonstrating decisiveness, empathy and understanding Jacinda Ardern initiated a healing process following the shootings. She managed to bring New Zealand together at what could have been a hugely divisive moment for the country,” shares human rights activist Philip Baldwin.

‘We’ not ‘I’

“Watching her acceptance speech, it is clear that she embraces leadership differently from most of her national and international counterparts. She uses ‘we’ much more often than she uses ‘I’. She talks about the people that she is lucky to work with and those she serves, thus embodying a more servant leadership style than the usual individualistic authoritarian leader. And she talks about a country for all its citizens, not just for certain groups whose support she courts,” Collins continues.

She appears to be genuine

“The rhetoric is different, but the really big difference I see in her is that she seems to actually mean everything she says. That authenticity is rare in national leaders and that, to me, is why she has achieved this huge success,” Collins concludes.

 She’s a PR powerhouse

“The fact she’s a PR powerhouse undoubtedly helps. She studied PR alongside politics at university. This means she’ll be acutely aware that every word is under scrutiny. However, it’s very hard to fake the tenets she does her job by, which are authenticity, empathy and kindness,” explains Emily Garnham, founder of PR firm Tartle Media.

Modern approach in old politics

“Ardern takes a thoroughly modern approach to leadership in a world where her peers still tout the old. These old habits include showing strength, never admitting mistakes, and, if backed into a corner, distracting the press with another story.”

“On a political stage where her peers include Donald Trump – the opposite of empathetic – it’s really not hard to see why Jacinda Ardern is such a breath of fresh air. Even some of her domestic critics are enjoying the world’s attention being on New Zealand,” Garnham continues.

Acknowledges her weaknesses 

“From afar, Jacinda Arden appears aware of her strengths, but also in acknowledgement of her weaknesses. No-one had any idea how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. She took the advice of the epidemiologists quickly. Then, she acted decisively and seems to have done well in keeping New Zealand relatively COVID free,” explains women’s empowerment expert Suzanne Pool.

When she acts, she acts quickly

“In a crisis—and she’s dealt with many—Arden has shown that she has the ability to act quickly and robustly. She acts with compassion but also the strength to counteract the threats New Zealand faces. Further, she maintains full control of managing the crisis, rather than delegating it to members of her team,” comments Pranav Bhanot, political advisor and author of Get Me Elected.

Human approach 

“At the same time as managing any major issues, she’s managed to maintain a warm, down-to-earth and human approach to her leadership, which has clearly resonated well,” Pranav continues.

“Leaders who look like they are in control and make electors feel safe while at the same time coming across as relatable and personable appeal to voters. Arden has struck the right balance. This has resulted in her re-election with a sweeping majority. Few global politicians have been able to strike this balance in recent years,” he concludes.

She embraces diversity

Cheryl MacDonald, CEO and founder of UK-based yoga franchise YogaBellies, says: “The fact that she embraces diversity is key. She has more gay and gender-neutral people in her parliament than anywhere else in the world, which speaks volumes.”

 She’s an inspiration to many

“As a female leader myself, Jacinda has all the characteristics that I hope to embody in leading YogaBellies. She’s competent, while also showing a human side. She’s proving that caring about and supporting people shouldn’t hold you back, rather, empower you. I think she’s shaping the future of leadership both in politics and in business. I wish that we all had a Jacinda to lead us,” Cheryl concludes.

How can I contact the Prime Minister of New Zealand?

Telephone       

 +64 4 817 9999

Website           

https://www.govt.nz/

Email

Jacinda.Ardern@parliament.govt.nz

Postal Address  

Private Bag 18888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160

Your Vote Counts

women who changed the world

At WTX News we believe in listening to our audience. And to make it as fair as possible we will give you the opportunity to pick the best out of 15 women who changed or made an impact on the world in 2020. There are no losers in this list, but we would like to create an order, so don’t forget to vote for your favourite. 

What does an inspirational woman mean for you? Leave your comments below or on our social media. Make sure to stay tuned to find out who are the other 14 candidates for the – most powerful woman in the world of 2020 – award.

Molly James

Journalist
@wtxnews

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