Jacinda Ardern Interview: Stop Asking Female Leaders Lame Questions
BBC’s interview with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern proves that no matter what position women hold, questions regarding marriage are always nearby. Here we have a world leader, and the possibilities of ending the interview with a powerful question were endless. Yet, what did BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire choose to ask Ardern? Whether she has any plans to propose marriage to her partner. Would a male leader in her position be asked a similar question? Would he be asked about his plans to get married as the conclusive question during an interview with a global news network?
- Interviewer Victoria Derbyshire asked Jacinda Ardern if she had any plans to propose to her long-term partner.
- Would a male leader in her position be asked a similar question?
- We have no interest in knowing when Ardern is tying the knot. Instead, the focus should be on her policies as New Zealand PM.
- She is a world class leader, deserving better questions during interviews than such.
Would a male leader in her position be asked a similar question?
According to The Guardian, Derbyshire asked Ardern whether she had any plans to propose to her long-term partner and father of their child, Clarke Gayford. The prime minister laughed loudly at the awkward question. However, she said, “No I would not ask, no.”
But Derbyshire refused to back down and prodded her further, “You’re a feminist?”
To this, Ardern replied, “Oh absolutely, absolutely I am a feminist. But no, I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonise about that question himself, that’s letting him off the hook, absolutely not.”
Since when is it okay for journalists to behave like nosey aunties and reduce women’s identity to their marital status? Ardern has achieved so much in her life, and while it is okay to ask how she balances motherhood with her work, there is a limit one shouldn’t cross. Journalists need to do more homework and stop asking such lame questions to female politicians. Give them a chance to prove their worth by posing tough questions to them. We have no interest in knowing when Ardern is tying the knot because she isn’t some Page 3 celebrity. She is a world-class leader and it is about time the media began to treat her like one.
Since when is it okay for journalists to behave like nosey aunties and reduce women’s identity to their marital status?
Besides, who asks whom to marry in their household and when, is strictly between Ardern and Gayford. There was no need to focus on their personal equation, that too for consumption of such large viewership. But more than that, it was unnecessary to question her feminist credentials, and linking it to her reluctance to propose to her partner. What has feminism got to do with Ardern not wanting to ask Gayford to marry her? Does it make her any less believer of gender equality, if she is unwilling to put her partner under any sort of pressure? Or is she expected to initiate this conversation since she is a feminist? How was Derbyshire exactly trying to project Ardern and feminists around the world? That feminist women are alpha, who don’t shy away from proposing to their partners?
For women, the question “when are you getting married?” is always round the corner. Even if you are the head of a nation
Derbyshire should have known better. Any grown-up man or woman knows that there is more to dynamics between a couple than their feminist virtues. Asking someone to marry isn’t about who is bold enough to take the lead. It is more about that right moment and comfort level and being mentally prepared for life-long commitment. Her intrusion reflects how society puts couples under pressure to tie the knot, not giving them enough space to prepare themselves for it. Especially for women, the question “when are you getting married?” is always round the corner. Even if you are the head of a nation. Or have your plate full with national duties and motherhood. No excuse seems good enough for the society to relieve you of embarrassing public inquisitions on impending nuptials.
Women have had enough. It was visible from the awkwardness on Ardern’s face as to the totally uncalled for question. Hopefully, the criticism this interview has earned will discourage interviewers from asking such frivolous questions to female politicians.
Picture Credit: www.nbcnews.com
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.