Did Jacinda Ardern just break the glass ceiling of the United Nations General Assembly?

By Maura Hohman
September 25, 2018 01:51 PM
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Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty

Did Jacinda Ardern just break the glass ceiling of the United Nations General Assembly?

New Zealand’s prime minister made history on Monday when she brought her 3-month-old daughter, Neve, to the United Nations Assembly Hall in New York City, CNN reported. She was photographed kissing and holding her baby next to her partner, Clarke Gayford, at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.

Ardern was pregnant and gave birth while in office, making her the first elected world leader to do so in almost 30 years and the second ever, according to the BBC. The woman who preceded her was Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in 1990.

Jacinda Ardern
| Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty

Gayford is Neve’s primary caretaker, and he brought her to the meeting because it was “practical,” Ardern told local paper the New Zealand Herald. BBC added that Ardern is still breastfeeding.

“Neve is actually nearby me most of the time in New Zealand, she’s just not always caught,” the prime minister said. “But here, when she’s awake, we try and keep her with me. So that was the occasion.”

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After pictures of Neve’s UN debut circulated on social media, Gayford shared on Twitter that his daughter had received her own UN badge. Along with photo evidence, the dad tweeted, “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.”

The UN has been supportive of Neve’s presence, with spokesperson Stephane Dujarric telling Reuters, “Prime Minister Ardern is showing that no one is better qualified to represent her country than a working mother. Just 5 percent of the world’s leaders are women, so we need to make them as welcome here as possible.”

Ardern, who took six weeks of maternity leave after giving birth, said after returning to work in August that she hopes “one day it will be normal” for a woman to be both a world leader and a new mom.