Did sexism drive Jacinda Ardern from office?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

Jacinda Ardern
(Image credit: Illustrated | Gettyimages)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leaving office, shocking the world with the announcement this week that "I no longer have enough in the tank" to do the job of leading her country. Ardern — one of the world's youngest leaders, who gave birth to her first child while in office — received praise from around the globe, but also a fair amount of sexist abuse. Fox News' Tucker Carlson was criticized for calling her "the lady with the big teeth who tormented her citizens," but even a less-contentious outlet like the BBC came under fire for its original headline asking "Can women have it all?" after Ardern's announcement.

The commentary "reflects wider trends that directly impact many women in politics," Ivana Saric writes at Axios. It's a global issue: Studies show that female politicians and activists — and women of color in particular — are far more likely than their male counterparts to experience abusive comments and threats. But Ardern's detractors say her global stardom belied problems with crime and inflation at home. "If you look from overseas, you don't see the lack of policy, you see the personality," writer Morgan Godfery tells The New York Times. "And that's where the mismatch comes in." Did sexism drive Jacinda Ardern from her job, or was she simply more beloved abroad than at home?

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Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.