NEWS

PM Bainimarama Defends Ardern And Her Baby Girl

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has led the charge to defend New Zea­land Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for taking her three-month-old daughter to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New
27 Sep 2018 11:13
PM Bainimarama Defends Ardern And Her Baby Girl
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama meets threemonth- old Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, daughter of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has led the charge to defend New Zea­land Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for taking her three-month-old daughter to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.

Taking to Twitter yesterday to show his support, Mr Bainimarama thanked Ms Ardern and stated that having “little Neve in the room is a humbling reminder that the world’s leaders must act not for ourselves, but for the future of our children and our planet.”

 

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa said the fact that a female leader was able to pursue her leadership role and at the same time at­tend to her role as a mother, was a breath of fresh air.

“It is so good to also see that the partner was there. He is the full-time caregiver,” she said.

“It is both these things, the fact that the partner, the man is a full time caregiver and the woman, who is a leader, is able to take the baby to the United Nations General As­sembly. There are great things for the femi­nist movement, basically for women around the world to be able to see that and know that the UN as one of the biggest bodies in the world, is able to recognise the rights of a woman to pursue both leadership at the political level and her role as a caregiver, as a mum – so I take my hat off to that and I think it’s a wonderful thing for women around the world.”

Leader of Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa shared similar sentiments. She said the first few years of a child’s life were important.

“The NZ Prime Minister has the best in­terest of her baby at heart because she is breastfeeding her baby,” Ro Teimumu said.

“For her, she made that decision to breast­feed her baby knowing all the issues that are involved in it with logistics, her meet­ings and how busy she is and I think that her baby is very lucky to have a mother who is very concerned about her baby’s welfare.

“I take my hat off to the Prime Minister for that and that is a message to mothers that they can be whatever they want to be and also look after their baby.”

She said Ms Ardern was fortunate that she was able to make her choice to take her baby with her since not all mothers had that privilege.

“She has that privilege and we have heard her say it often that she is in a very privi­leged position to do that and look after her baby and she is showing us not only by word but also by action that she has the best interest of her baby at heart,” Ro Teimumu said.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Co-ordinator Shamima Ali applauded Ms Ardern saying she is a trailblazer.

“On the one hand, wom­en are expected to have babies and if they do not have babies they are con­demned for it, and then women need to look after the babies, but they also need to be in the workforce to work,” Ms Ali said.

“I think women’s biologi­cal role as well as their role in taking a place in the world, should be recog­nised and should be com­mended and I do not see any problems.

“I think Jacinda Ardern is making huge strides in setting an example and also sending out a very clear message to employ­ers and to anyone else that children are important and they play an important part and for women to continue doing the good work that they do and that motherhood should not be an impediment and spaces must be allowed for women to be able to do both jobs if they wish to.”

Ms Ali hit out at those criticising the New Zealand PM when she said: “Those people should undergo some gender and human rights training to better understand the role of women and not the traditional, typi­cal and limited roles that they give women.

“I think they really need to learn some­thing about women’s experiences and wom­en’s contribution to de­velopment.”

Speaking to The Guard­ian, Ms Ardern outlined the exceptional circum­stances that make it possible for her to raise her baby while continu­ing as Prime Minister, which she has frequent­ly stated she hopes will one day be the norm for all women wanting to balance a career and parenting.

“If I can do one thing, and that is to change the way we think about these things, then I will be pleased we have achieved something.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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