This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
As you’re probably aware, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a baby girl last week. This is the first time that a world leader has given birth, in 30 years, while in office. The big question I would like to pose is whether or not this will ever be a reality for the United States. While I don’t want to sound negative, but I kind of think its safe to say no. Sure, I wish that America would be progressive enough to elect a female (to start), and then see that female give birth in office, but I’m not sure that it’s possible. Over the last two years, we’ve seen what America is, and progressive isn’t a word I’d use to describe it.
The interesting part about this is that everyone really got into it. From choosing baby names to speculating when the child would arrive. It was an event, much like the recent Royal Wedding. The U.S. and New Zealand are politically different. New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. If you’ve read any of our articles on how the U.S and Canada differ, you’ll recall that this is one of the ways. Which means, there are more opportunities for a diverse election. Not only that, but New Zealand uses a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system, which means that it’s unlikely that any one political party will get a majority of seats in the House.
Mixed Member Proportional is, as the name suggests, a proportional representation system. Which means, that the proportion of votes that a party gets will largely reflect the number of seats that it has in parliament. Each voter gets two votes. The first vote is for the political party, and the second vote is for the individual. The first vote is called the party vote and largely determines the number of seats that the party gets in Parliament.
While I’m not suggesting that the New Zealand political system is better than the United States, but I am suggesting that it might be the reason for more diversity. In the United States, it’s very much a plurality type situation. Democrats vs. Republicans. Black vs. White. Men vs. Women. In New Zealand, we know that it’s not necessarily just going to be one party calling the shots. In fact, because of the MMP voting system, there is a very narrow chance of one party becoming the majority and therefore running the country. Sure, that party may have more seats than the other party’s, but they don’t necessarily have the majority of seats. Why is this a good thing? Well, it means that people have to cross party lines in order to find consensus and agreements. Which isn’t something that we see in U.S politics.
I think it’s great that New Zealand’s political system allows a woman to give birth while in office, but I also think that it shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t live in a world where we celebrate these things. These things should just happen. I say this about race all the time. It’s like we pigeon-hole races and genders in order to conform to what we think they should be. You’re a woman, therefore you can’t…. [fill in the blank]. It’s 2018, we should be saying “You’re a woman, therefore you can do whatever you want”.
And that’s why I think that it might be awhile before the United States sees a female president. Right now, politically, the Democrats are so worried about how to get rid of Donald Trump, they’re going to need to find the strongest candidate, and unfortunately, that’s likely going to be a man. Maybe a Kennedy would help? Regardless, though, good for New Zealand for being progressive enough for electing a female Prime Minister in the first place. And congratulations to Ardern and her husband for welcoming a new baby into this world.