New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern responds to sexist question on meeting Finnish PM

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s firm response to a reporter suggesting that she met Finland PM Sanna Marin because of their “similar age” has gone viral.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and Finland PM Sanna Marin
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and Finland PM Sanna Marin
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After the first meeting between New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin, the former's firm response to a reporter suggesting that they met because they were both young women leaders has gone viral. At a joint press conference on Wednesday, November 30, a reporter said that many people were wondering if the two Prime Ministers were meeting just because they were similar in age and had “a lot of common stuff.” To this, Jacinda replied, “I wonder whether or not anyone asked (former United States President) Barack Obama and (former New Zealand PM) John Key if they met because they were of similar age.” Jacinda Ardern is 42 years old, and Sanna Marin is 37. 

“We, of course, have a higher proportion of men in politics. It’s reality. Because two women meet, it’s not simply because of their gender,” Jacinda Ardern said. Later, Sanna Marin also said, “We are meeting because we are Prime Ministers.” Sanna Marin was in New Zealand for her first official tour, marking the first visit by a Finnish PM to the country. 

Both leaders also spoke about furthering bilateral trade and dealing with other global issues. “Finland exports into New Zealand $199 million worth of exports.… New Zealand on the other hand is trading about $14 million worth… There is huge potential between us… Little would be known about the depth of that relationship or the potential of it, but it’s our job to further it regardless of our gender,” Jacinda Ardern said. 

Ardern also said that she and Marin were focused on their responsibility as female leaders to women in countries who were facing “dire circumstances”, where basic human rights were being violated, and cited Iran as an example. Marin said they both wanted to work to ensure women and girls across the world have the same rights and opportunities as men.

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