New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became the first head of state to give birth while in office in nearly 30 years Thursday.
Ardern, 37, first announced the pregnancy in January and gave birth to the healthy baby girl with her partner Clark Gayford Thursday. She is the world’s youngest female world leader, and is a self proclaimed social democrat and feminist.
“We’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,” she wrote on social media at the time. “I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad.”
Ardern plans on taking maternity leave for six weeks, and deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters plans to cover for her during that time. She will still stay in the loop with daily briefings on major decisions being made, especially ones pertaining to national security.
“This is a sign of our maturity as a country and its acceptance that combining career and family is a choice which women are free to make,” former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Ardern’s political hero, welcomed the birth in an email to the Associated Press.
“Let’s also celebrate Clarke as a modern man who is happy to be the full time parent of a young child,” Clark continued.
This isn’t the first time in history a female ruler has given birth while serving in her authoritative position of governance. Ardern, however, is only the second elected female world leader to have a child while in office and the first to take maternity leave.
The first elected female world leader to have a child while in office was Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan back in 1990. Thirty years ago, her opponents used her pregnancy as a reason to demand her dismissal. The controversy led to her not taking any time off after the birth of her child.
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