Outrage over BBC's 'sexist' and 'archaic' headline on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's resignation

Jacinda Ardern's shock resignation as Prime Minister has made global headlines but amidst the mountains of international praise, the BBC is being accused of missing the mark.

Ardern announced she was stepping down from the top job at the Labour caucus retreat on Thursday.

Huge media outlets all around the world reported on her announcement with many highlighting her leadership throughout major disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.

But instead, one media giant found itself in hot water after publishing an article with the headline: "Jacinda Ardern resigns: Can women really have it all?"

Outraged spilled over to social media after the "archaic" headline appeared on the BBC with a nod to the controversial phrase "can women have it all".  

Scottish research fellow Dr Kate Womersely posted a screenshot of the now-deleted headline on Twitter where it has been retweeted thousands of times.

"This is a disgrace @BBCWorld. Jacinda Ardern has been a longstanding leader and international hero. Because of her, many more women have bigger aspirations and will enjoy bigger successes. She did it all," Dr Womersely said.

British television and radio presenter Sangita Myska, who is a former BBC employee, commented she is "genuinely saddened to see this headline got approval".

"Saddened to see such a reductive, sexist and inaccurate headline from the BBC World," Myska said.

Women's rights advocate Katherine O'Brien said it was "staggering sexism" and she could not believe the BBC published the headline in 2023.

Beth Prescott, a senior researcher at The Centre for Social Justice in England, said the headline should never have been approved in the first place. 

"Whatever your views on Jacinda Ardern, this was a shocking and archaic headline from the BBC," Prescott tweeted.

The BBC has changed the article's headline to "Jacinda Ardern resigns: Departure reveals unique pressures on PM".

The article examined the difficulties she faced as Prime Minister while being only the second female head of state to give birth while holding office.

"We quickly recognised the original headline wasn't suitable for the story and changed it accordingly. We also deleted the associated tweet," a BBC spokesperson told Newshub.