Women in Politics
Designation: Prime Minister
Country: New Zealand
Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern (July 26, 1980) is a politician and Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and is the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand since 2017. At age 37, she became the country’s third female and first youngest prime minister after more than 150 years.
Born in Hamilton, Ardern grew up in rural Waikato. Before graduating with a Bachelor of Communications Studies in International Relations and Professional Communication from the University of Waikato, she attended Morrinsville College and joined the New Zealand Labour Party at age 18.
After university, Ardern worked in various roles in the government and business fields. She worked as an advisor to Prime Minister Helen Clark in the Government Cabinet Office in London. Later elected to the Parliament in 2008, she became the MP for the Mt Albert electorate in 2017 and also Leader of the Labour Party the same year. She was sworn in as Prime Minister in September 2017.
During her time of service, Ardern has been a strong advocate for the rights of women, children, and every New Zealander. She took responsibility for the Child Poverty Reduction Act and took the lead on climate change through initiatives like establishing the Zero Carbon Act and banning future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.
Ardern’s work has won her tremendous recognition, including being one of the fifteen women selected to appear on the cover of British Vogue in the September 2019 issue. She was included in the Time’s 100 list in 2019 and was shortlisted for Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. She was also ranked 38th on the Forbes Magazine among the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2019. On November 19, 2020, Ardern was awarded Harvard University’s 2020 Gleitsman International Activist Award after she contributed the US$150,000 (NZ$216,000) prize money to New Zealanders studying at the university.
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