Jacinda Ardern is the latest female leader subject to questioning over her reproductive capacity. How about more questions related to leadership capacity?

  • Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist

It only took seven hours for the new leader of the New Zealand Labour party to be publicly subjected to hoary stereotypes of sexist nonsense.

I despair that that’s unlikely to even be a record. But there’s Jacinda Ardern, 37 years old. Preselected unanimously and seizing the political opportunity of her life. The great hope of a party whose hopes have long been dormant. A young woman already with a reputation for international leadership … reduced, on a radio broadcast to the question: “Is it OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?”

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