Jacinda Ardern resigns – charismatic leader

Jacinda Ardern resigns – charismatic leader

Jacinda Ardern forged a new political culture in the six years she led New Zealand’s government. Leading a country, she said, as she resigned, is one of the most unique assignments she has ever had. But you can only practice this when your ‘tank is full’ and ‘you still have a small reserve for special challenges’. Now she is looking forward to spending time with her family, her daughter starting school and finally marrying her partner.

Jacinda Ardern and her family are on their way to the Queen’s funeral in September 2022.© Coalition Photo/Associated Press/Mark Mitchell

Writer Jagoda Marinić has admired Jacinda Ardern for her strength and clarity during her tenure. And she asserts that Ardern revealed sexist patterns of thinking. She was one of the first women in high positions to become pregnant, and then journalists asked about her directly. She then dismissed the question as “totally inappropriate”. Journalists also wanted to know if Ardern and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin had met just because of their similar age.

For Marinich, Ardern embodied “female leadership as one dreams of it”. “With her, I often got the impression that women can actually be better than men because they can try something new.” As a policy, Ardern has shown that “emotions and competence” are not mutually exclusive. The New Zealand Prime Minister made this very clear, especially in 2019 after the far-right attack on a mosque in Christchurch.

A different form of leadership

The fact that Ardern now admits her tank is empty adds a human dimension to politics, the author says: “We expect CEOs, like Merkel, to always govern appropriately for 16 years.” On the other hand, Ardern shows “humility before one’s limitations”.

Many feminists wished for women to be a force of renewal: “Jacinda Ardern embodied that to an extreme degree,” says Marinich. “Women may truly bring a different future of leadership to our world. And in times when powerful, authoritarian men want to secure their rule, it was a glimmer of hope.” Her resignation was a “blow”.

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