Danielle McLaughlin: Ardern kid questions reminder of unequal road for Clinton
OPINION: In an episode to be filed under "inappropriate questions heard around the world", The New York Times late this week reported on the handful of Kiwi journalists asking new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern about balancing career and family.
In fairness, Ardern has publicly stated that she is comfortable discussing her plans (or not) for children.
But the questions directed at her this week sent a shiver down the spine of many politics watchers, including those of us in the US who observed, with anger, the utterly sexist attacks against Hillary Clinton from opponents and the press.
Donald Trump said Clinton didn't have a "presidential look". Bernie Sanders supporters branded Clinton supporters "Shillaries" and toted badges at the Democratic National Convention stating "Life's a Bitch – Don't Vote For One."
Trump suggested in an April 2016 news conference that all Clinton had going for her was the "woman's card". And who could forget him lobbing the "nasty woman" insult at her in the final presidential debate.
The press wasn't much better. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough suggested that Clinton smile more after one of her many primary victories. The hours of media coverage devoted to Clinton's bout with pneumonia reeked of false equivalency on fitness for office. Clinton was sick, but Trump was a boor.
Helen Clark weighed in this week on the Ardern questions, professing dismay that in the 21st century, this kind of gender bias still exists. Clark didn't escape it as PM, perhaps most notably when then-Opposition leader Bill English was photographed on the steps of the Beehive holding a sign calling Clark a "mad cow". Clark missed out on the top job at the UN last year, despite the organisation's firm commitment to gender equality. It was the first but highest glass ceiling Clark ever encountered.
With the New Zealand general election next month, there simply isn't much time to get into gender wars. Even if there was, I'm confident that the descent into sexism that was a feature of the US election is a bug in the New Zealand election.
I'll be keeping tabs from afar, and hoping not to read any more stories like this in the US press. Particularly given that adding insult to injury, The New York Times published the story in its "Australia" section.
- Sunday Star Times