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PM Jacinda Ardern Puts Off a Reporter’s Sexist Question

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responds to a reporter who threw a sexist question at a joint press conference.

Ardern spoke during a news conference alongside Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin. During the news conference, the leaders emphasized the two countries’ friendship. More importantly, the news conference highlighted Finland’s contribution to New Zealand’s national economy. However, as reporters began questioning the leaders, one reporter offered a question that caught Ardern off guard.

“A lot of people will be wondering, are you two meeting just because you’re similar in age and, you know, got a lot of common stuff there,” asked the New Zealand-based reporter.

“Or can Kiwis actually expect to see more deals down the line between the two countries—” the reporter added before Ardern answered the question.

“My first question is I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked [former U.S. President] Barack Obama and [former New Zealand Prime Minister] John Key and if they met because they were of similar age,” Ardern answered.

“We, of course, have a higher proportion of men in politics. It’s reality. But because two women meet, it’s not simply because of their gender.”

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Ardern grateful for Finland’s help

Ardern praised Finland’s contribution after discounting the reporter’s sexist remark. According to the Prime Minister, New Zealand and Finland share many characteristics. Furthermore, the nations profit from one another through trade. Hence the question posed to her previously is irrelevant.

“Finland exports into New Zealand NZ$199 million worth of exports. They have particular technology in companies like Nokia, biofuels, and even basic industrial wares used in our buildings. For example, you won’t be aware that a large number of our elevators come out of Finland and agricultural machinery,” she said.

“New Zealand, on the other hand, trades about NZ$14 million worth. And it’s mostly in wine and beef. There is a huge potential between us… As individual nations, we look for opportunities to build on that economic agreement. So for me, this is timely. Next year, we’re looking to progress that FTA. Our meeting today as a chance alongside the Prime Minister’s high-level trade delegation of significant industry leaders, we leverage the economic opportunities between our two countries.”

“It’s our job to further it, regardless of our gender.”

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Rectifying the fault

The public quickly reacted negatively to the reporter’s words. Many people called it sexist and misogynistic. However, when Finland Prime Minister Marin spoke, she stated that they were convening because they were the leaders of their nations. And, regardless of gender, both must maintain Finland-New Zealand’s strong economic relations.

“He was one sentence away from asking the prime ministers if they met to talk about boys and if their periods have synced up yet,” said one reporter.

“A shame some journalists spoke to [Ardern and Marin] like they are 1950s housewives organizing a coffee morning,” another user Tweeted.

“During our governmental period, there has been the global pandemic, and there’s war now in Europe, there’s an energy crisis, perhaps an economic crisis in front of us. So many things on my plate are more concerning than my free time,” added Marin.

“You are free to discuss and write what you want, but I’m focusing on the issues in our program.”

Opinions expressed by Net Worth contributors are their own.