After five and a half years as Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, 42 years old and leader of the labor party, announced yesterday that he will leave his position on February 7th. And although it is true that the latest polls give the opposition National Party a certain advantage, the gap is not dramatic and the policy, which he came to office at the age of 37, was not at a particularly controversial time. For this reason, in the press conference he wanted to make the reasons very clear: “I don’t quit because it’s hardI am leaving because this job carries great responsibility, and I don’t have enough energy to do him justice, he explained. Something that, the truth, we are not used to hearing. How many politicians have we seen hold out (or stretch the position?) Despite showing a fairly clear reluctance?
Do women with power or visibility have extra judgment?
It doesn’t really seem that the fear of a bad result is what made this woman say goodbye (I was going to add strong, and I corrected myself). Her because she has been the first in many things, showing that she has the personality to make difficult decisions: she was the youngest woman to reach the head of the executive of a country, at 37 years old; her the first to be a mother during her tenure and take her maternity leave while she was in office; and in October 2020 she revalidated her mandate by an overwhelming majority, making the Labor Party govern alone.
Along the way, he has faced very difficult moments: the coronavirus pandemic; the attack on two mosques in Christchurch in 2019, which left 51 dead, or the eruption of the White Island volcano that same year. But it is that sometimes the head cannot prevail over the body and even those “strong women” to whom it seems that the adjective prevents them from being able to say NO to anything, they allow themselves to say: ‘I can’t take it anymore, I’m exhausted’. And it is honest that if that is the cause, it is said shamelessly. He is honest and surely a great help to many others.
Excessive sensitivity and empathy, a gift that takes its toll
I have no more news about Jacinda than what the news agencies and media familiar with New Zealand news give us, but there are two pieces of information that have made me conclude that Jacinda is an empathic woman who listens, a lot. Some of them:
- At 13 he wanted to be clown “to make laugh to the children”
- Today she declares herself an agnostic, but she was born into a Mormon family. In high school organized a campaign so that girls could wear shortsdespite the fact that she continued with the lengths due to her beliefs.
- His reasons for separating from the Church were “tolerance and kindness”as he confessed in an interview: “In my youth I shared a flat with some homosexual friends, how could I subscribe to a religion that discriminates against them?”, he argued.
The first biography on Jacinda Arder was published in May 2021 precisely under the title ‘Jacinda Ardern: Leading with Empathy’. The signature signed the pacifist writer Supriya Vani who stated that “it takes courage to choose to be an empathetic leader.”
Nor should we forget the exposure level and comments to which the few leading women in politics are exposed. Let’s remember, for example, the ‘zasca’ that crossed paths with Donal Trump. They met at an APEC summit in Vietnam, and Trump mistook Jacinda for Sophie Grgoire, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When he realized her mistake, he said “Ah, yes, I know who it is: this young lady has caused quite a stir in her country.” To which Ardern replied: “Nobody demonstrated in the street against me when I was elected.”
But she is not the only one, let us also remember the questioning that her colleague has suffered, Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland, who last August defended himself at a press conference, on the verge of tears, after weeks of criticism for the dissemination of various videos in which he appeared having fun at private parties. “I’m a human being. Sometimes I also long for joy, light and pleasure in the midst of these dark clouds, “Marin defended himself. “I want to believe that people value what we politicians do at work instead of what we do in our free time ” “But the feeling is that women are not only inspected for what we do in our spare time, but often also for our age, our body, or the way we dress.”
A good example is in another moment that precisely these two prime ministers starred in. Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland, visited New Zealand last November with a business delegation to explore synergies in the technology sector. During the press conference, one of the questions raised by a journalist was: “Many people ask themselves: Are you meeting because you are the same age and have many things in common – in politics and other matters – or can New Zealanders expect agreements between our countries? later?” To the astonishment of both, it was Ardern who threw a question at the journalist: “He would ask the same question of former US President Barack Obama. and former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key when they met in the past.”
How much to learn, not from strong women who neither feel nor suffer, but from women who, because precisely they feelfor them and for many others, are able to recognize their burn out or extreme exhaustion and say ‘I can’t anymore’.