Jacinda Ardern talks motherhood, 'not being allowed a chest' in NEXT magazine piece

Jacinda Ardern has opened up about the trials she has faced since becoming Prime Minister and living up to the role's high expectations. 

In an interview with NEXT magazine, the 38-year-old Labour leader said she hasn't had an unproductive day "in about a decade", and discussed the challenges of spending enough time with her daughter Neve. 

"We try not to have too many expectations because it's changeable," she told the magazine.

"But when Neve wakes up, we might go for a walk or out for breakfast. And then I read to her and I play with her - simple things." 

Ms Ardern made history last year as the second head of government to give birth while in office. She stood alongside her partner Clarke Gayford on June 24, 2018, as they introduced their daughter to the world amid a flurry of local and international media. 

The Prime Minister indicated it's difficult to find spare time, as her weekends often include an event appearance on Saturday, and then on Sunday she prepares for Monday's Cabinet meeting by phoning colleagues and getting organised. 

Speaking about her daughter, Ms Ardern said: "I hope that she doesn't feel any limitations. That she doesn't have any sense of what girls can or can't do. That it's just not even a concept for her."

In the interview with NEXT's Phoebe Watt, Ms Ardern also opened up about her role as a feminist icon and the heavy expectations that come with it. 

The author described an incident during her photo-shoot where the photographer asked the Prime Minister to casually lean against a window ledge with her legs slightly apart. But the pose was "vetoed", according to the magazine, and cleavage was not allowed either.  

"The Prime Minister is not allowed a chest," Ms Ardern is quoted saying, which the author went on to suggest could be seen as "perpetuating a system of oppression" by not using her power to "move the expectations around Parliamentary dress". 

But the author also noted that Ms Ardern would be "damned if she does and damned if she doesn't", adding: "Needless to say that in this instance, she does up another button and gets on with it."

The Prime Minister has talked about women's equality on the world stage. Last year she was applauded at the United Nations General Assembly for saying the #MeToo movement "needs to become "WeToo".