Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the day it becomes unremarkable to be a female leader "will be the day when everything really will have changed".
In the Financial Times, she has written an opinion piece about being one of the select few female heads of government.
The Prime Minister unsurprisingly named Helen Clark as her top female role model, alongside her mother for "her kindness and empathy".
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But she said, just because she was able to become a leader, that doesn't mean things become "automatically easier" for those that follow.
Ms Ardern said "it's not good enough to simply be heard", and women need be present in governance and decision-making across the world.
She said her visit to refugee camps a decade ago still troubles her deeply.
"I see, in the eyes and the faces of women and young girls in parts of the world today, desperation and the sheer battle for day-to-day survival," she wrote in the Times.
In addressing New Zealand specifically, she wrote of her drive to narrow the gender pay gap, lift the minimum wage, tackle child poverty and aim for at least 50 percent of Labour MPs to be women.
"My hope for 2018 is that, across the world, we continue to make progress, so that all women and young girls can learn, prosper and grow, and live with dignity, equality and basic human rights," Ms Ardern said.
But she said hope was not enough, nor was carving a path - "that is left to grow over".
Instead, she wrote of feeling "a huge sense of responsibility" to refuse to be complacent as a female world leader.
Her reflections are part of the Financial Times 'Women in 2017' feature, alongside opinion pieces from international writers, business leaders, activists and athletes.