New Zealand's Labour party's new leader Jacinda Ardern was furious after she was quizzed on TV about her plans to have children.The leader said it was unacceptable for women in the workplace to be asked regarding their plans for motherhood.
A few hours after taking on her new role, the 37-year-old was interviewed by the host of The AM Show, Mark Richardson who said that it was the public's right to know if a prospective prime minister would take maternity leave.
"I think this is a legitimate question for New Zealand because she could be the Prime Minister running this country - she has our best interests at heart so we need to know these things," Richardson pressed. "If you are the employer of a company you need to know that type of thing from the woman you are employing... the question is, is it OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?"
Visibly irritated, Ardern pointed out that it was illegal for any NZ employer to decide on a potential candidate based on her pregnancy plans. "It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is unacceptable, it is unacceptable," she said.
"It is a woman's decision about when they choose to have children and it should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities."
Ardern is the second woman ever to be elected as Labour party leader and is also the youngest to take on the role. Her new position has fired up a sexism debate across the country. Prior to her AM Show interview, she spoke to The Project host Jesse Mulligan about the choice to pursue her political career and have children.
"I have been very open about discussing that dilemma because I think probably lots of women face it," she said. "For me, my position is no different to the woman who works three jobs, or who might be in a position where they are juggling lots of responsibilities."
If she does go on to win the upcoming general elections, Ardern will become the third female prime minister of New Zealand, following in the footsteps of Helen Elizabeth Clark (1999-2008) and Dame Jennifer Mary Shipley (1997-1999).
Despite all the kerfuffle, people were glad to see a young face in politics and celebrated her election on Twitter.