Why New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern has the world’s attention
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with the Muslim community at the Kilbirnie Mosque in Wellngton. Photo / Getty

Why New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern has the world’s attention

In the wake of the mosque attack that killed 50 people in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern has won international acclaim for her her handling of the tragedy, says Global News.

“New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,” Jacinda Ardern said in a speech to those who gathered to remember the dozens killed a week earlier.

Ardern’s focus around creating unity and prioritizing comfort for the victims has led to applause from around the world. Immediately following the attack, Ardern began taking steps to ban the weapons used in the assault.

Jacinda Ardern is New Zealand’s youngest leader in more than 150 years,. She faced this challenge just weeks after winning her party’s leadership. Ardern was also only the second world leader to give birth while holding office in modern times.

A key facet in Ardern’s leadership style that seems to resonate with so many is simply, her authenticity.

In the words of Pamela Lovelace, a communications professor at Mount Saint Vincent University:

“She has set a tone unlike previous world leaders. She’s not entering the battle of war. What she’s doing is setting the tone using rhetoric of love and respect and compassion and understanding.”

Images of Ardern wearing a head covering in respect to those she speaks to have also been circulating and drawing praise. Moreover, Ardern’s actions and her steps to ban the weapons are also important to highlight. Rather than sweeping the incident under the rug, she took steps to ensure that it would not happen again.

Jacinda Ardern’s Response of “Solace and Steel”

The New Zealand Herald praised Ardern’s response, saying it has been one of “solace and steel.”

“There was no bigger test than this,” wrote Claire Trevett. “It is hard to think how anybody could have stepped up to it better than Ardern has.”

Without minimizing the importance and effect of Ardern’s majority government, Harris notes that, “she’s really breaking new ground because we don’t have that many models of female politicians in charge leading in times of crisis.”

“The younger generation of people want to see emotions, expect emotions in a way that the older generations were more reticent,” she says.

Jacinda Ardern operates outside the patriarchal expectations placed on women in politics. Though undoubtedly aware of these expectations, her ability to place her power back into the community contributes greatly to her strong leadership.

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