Jacinda Ardern (1980-) is a New Zealand politician who has served as the 40th prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. Being 37 at the time, she became the country’s youngest prime minister in more than 150 years.
Since taking up the post as prime minister, Ardern has effectively led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, setting a decisive and swift strategy to tackle the crisis. A recent poll found that Ardern is the country’s most popular leader in 100 years, and almost 92% of respondents say they support the measures she has implemented.
Ardern is known for her empathetic leadership style that places emphasis on compassion and community. “Kindness, and not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy,” she has said of what is at the heart of her leadership style. “I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most."