Ross Karl: It'll be a great day when a Prime Minister takes maternity leave

OPINION: I welcome the day a Prime Minister takes maternity leave.

Whether or not Jacinda Ardern becomes Prime Minister, or even wants babies, the concept of a pregnant Prime Minister has many positives.

For one, it would be great news for a family. Two: what a message of equality, acceptance and how far we would have come.

The thing is, we haven't come that far, by the looks of the murmuring over the last few days. We may have given women the vote first but 124 years later, the concept of a young woman in charge still scares many people. 

The fact that men have brought up this pregnancy issue is no surprise. It threatens the cultural norms. Who has more to lose by a power change in our society than men? 

Yes, a pregnant Prime Minister wouldn't be at work for a period of time. That's how maternity leave works. That's how it works for every young woman. If we encourage our young women to chase their dreams, that doesn't stop if your dream is to be Prime Minister.

She would take her time off, we'd use the deputy to continue her good work, then she'd return. Every term, deputies stand in for Prime Ministers for weeks at a time. It's nothing new. The policies don't change. The Prime Ministers return.

This shouldn't even be a conversation in 2017 but the idea of pregnancy in Parliament has been a hot topic this year. When Australian Senator Larissa Waters breastfed in the chambers, she showed that Australians are as backwards as many New Zealanders. 

There should be no outcry. If you want equality in our society, accept that young women deserve jobs and maternity leave. These close-minded men have spread their seed and gone back to work. Can't they see the double standard?

I've spoken to bosses, even female ones, who prefer to hire older women, so they don't have to deal with the complications pregnancy brings. It's deemed pragmatic. The young women who miss out don't see it that way and they shouldn't. How many great minds have been thrown on the scrapheap because of this?

You only have to look at the hope that's grown around Labour over the last two days, to see the difference young women can make. She's not even in power and many people are uplifted.

Besides the pregnancy issue, people are saying she's too young. Newsflash: you don't have to be middle-aged to be wise, or a leader. 

John F Kennedy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were each 43 years old when they were elected, while France's Emmanuel Macron was 39.

Ideas and technology advance with young people who are not set in the old ways. They don't deny our housing crisis. They don't deny we have a problem with poverty. They have nothing to lose by taking on those issues. They know society has everything to gain.

If you have the political nous, leadership ability and policies, your age, and definitely your fertility, shouldn't stand in your way.

Ross Karl is Newshub's rugby reporter.

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