At a Wednesday press conference in Auckland, New Zealand, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern teamed up on tackling one of the biggest threats to international security (and our collective sanity): dumbass, sexist questions from men.
According to video of the event, a (male) (Kiwi) reporter began his question about the validity of New Zealand and Finland’s partnership with a roundabout introduction that insinuates that Jacinda and Marin are only meeting because they’re both… young-ish women. “A lot of people are wondering are you two meeting just because you’re similar in age and you know, got a lot of common stuff there…” he said.
It’s honestly kind of hilarious how highly that question ranks question on the old-school sexism score, but sure, if Y2k fashion is in again, why not similarly dated sexism too? But in responding, Ardern, 42, didn’t miss a beat. She calmly echoed the reporter’s own stupidity back at him, asking, “My first question is if anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were of similar age?” (John Key was New Zealand’s prime minister from 2008 to 2016; yes, I had to Google that.) She then, for some reason, has to explain, “We of course have a higher proportion of men in politics, it’s reality. Because two women meet, it’s not simply because of their gender.”
I’m not a foreign affairs expert, but I would imagine any leaders of Finland and New Zealand would have a lot to talk about: The countries have small, similarly sized populations, lots of coastline, and various natural resources. (Bring me to their next press conference, I promise I’ll ask better questions!)
Arden went on to point out in excruciating detail why the two heads of state are meeting, providing various economic stats, including that Finland sends NZ$199 million worth of exports into New Zealand (including machinery, technology, and biofuels). Rattling off the specifics of trade deals while very kindly handling sexism from the media? That’s my kind of world leader.
“We really leverage the economic opportunities between our two countries,” Ardern continued. “Little would be known about the depth of that relationship or the potential of it, but it’s our job to further it, regardless of our gender.”
Marin, 37, who has been scrutinized for daring to be both fun and important, hardly lets Mr. Misogyny off the hook, either. “Yeah, we are meeting because we are prime ministers, of course,” she said with a sarcastic laugh, before discussing further potential for collaboration between Finland and New Zealand. Specifically, she hopes that the two countries can find a way to shift technological dependence away from “authoritarian countries.”
Marin said they would discuss that issue at a dinner meeting later on Wednesday. Here’s to hoping that they ordered the largest glasses of wine possible after that press conference. Maybe they even went out dancing afterwards.