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Women lawmakers from New Zealand, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her newborn baby Neve Gayford in the center, recreate a historic shot at the Parliamentary Library.

Double take

New Zealand women lawmakers re-work all-male photo to mark 125 years of voting rights

By WITW Staff on September 21, 2018

New Zealand under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is looking increasingly like a feminist utopia. Not that that’s anything new — in 1893, it was the first nation in the world to introduce women’s suffrage.

And this week, on the 125th anniversary of that achievement, 39 of the country’s 46 female members of Parliament (and one baby) re-created a photo from 1905, showing New Zealand’s then all-male Parliament. Ardern’s infant daughter Neve appears in the 2018 version.

The new version will hang beside the old, outside the door of the Parliamentary Library’s Reading Room, where both images were taken.

New Zealand’s female parliamentary membership is 38 percent — above the 2015 global average of 22.1 percent. But these representatives aren’t resting on their laurels. “Still so much more to do,” MP Nikki Kaye tweeted.

Ardern, 37, became the second world leader in modern history (after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto) — and the first in nearly 30 years — to give birth while in office earlier this year.

Ardern, who become the country’s second-youngest P.M. in its history in October, had endured numerous questions about her looks and the possibility that might she become pregnant both during and after her remarkable election campaign — and in one instance told an interviewer it was “unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace” after she was asked one too many times about the possibility of becoming pregnant while in office.

“I am not the first woman to multitask,” Ardern noted in a later interview with Radio New Zealand following the announcement of her pregnancy in January. “I am not the first woman to work and have a baby; there are many women who have done this before.”

Last month, New Zealand’s minister for women made news when she transported herself to the delivery room — on her bicycle. Julie Anne Genter, also New Zealand’s associated transport minister and a vocal proponent of cycling, said that the ride “put me in the best possible mood” for the delivery.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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