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Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin closed down a reporter’s sexist question about her age

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to a reporter’s suggestion that she met with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin “only because” of their similarities, such as age and gender.

The comments came at a joint news conference on Wednesday held to highlight Marin’s diplomatic visit to Auckland. The two leaders are expected to discuss trade relations and support for Ukraine.

“A lot of people will wonder if you’re dating just because you’re a similar age and have a lot in common there,” a reporter from a New Zealand outlet asked Ardern.

“Or can Kiwis actually expect there to be more deals between the two countries later on…”

“My first question is, I wonder if anyone has ever asked or not [former U.S. President] Barack Obama and [former New Zealand Prime Minister] John Key and if they met because they were the same age,” Ardern interjected with a smile, noting the five-day age gap between the two leaders.

“Of course we have a higher proportion of men in politics. That is reality. But because two women meet, it’s not just because of their gender.”

She went on to describe her country’s reliance on US$199 million in Finnish imports and the economic potential behind soaring European exports.

When it was her turn, Marin simply added: “We meet because we are prime ministers,” before addressing Finland’s desire to break its economic dependency on authoritarian regimes.

“It’s our job to keep going [our countries’ economic opportunities]regardless of our gender,” she concluded.

Reaction to the question was swift and critical on social media, with many calling the reporter sexist and misogynistic.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin (left) refuted a reporter's suggestion that she was meeting New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern because of her age. "We meet because we are prime ministers," She said.

Dave Rowland/Getty Images

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Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin (left) refuted a reporter’s suggestion that she was meeting New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern because of her age. “We meet because we are prime ministers,” she said.

“He was one sentence away from asking the prime ministers if they met to talk about boys and if their periods are already synced,” he said. A journalist tweeted.

Another Twitter user wrote It was “a pity that some journalists spoke to it [Ardern and Marin] as if they were 1950s housewives organizing a coffee morning.”

Neither Ardern, 42, nor Marin, 37, are alien to public attention at their age.

Marin was elected in 2019 and was the world’s youngest acting leader until 2021, when Gabriel Boric won the Chilean presidency at the age of 35.

Marin has defended her maturity and competence since August, when videos of her dancing and singing with friends at a private party were released online.

“I have a family life, I have a work life and I have free time to spend with my friends. Pretty much the same as a lot of people my age,” she said after news of the videos broke.

She reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday, when another New Zealand reporter pointed out that the title of “party prime minister” followed her to Auckland.

“During our reign there was the global pandemic, there is war in Europe now, there is an energy crisis, maybe an economic crisis ahead. So there are many things on my plate that are more important to me than my free time. ‘ said Marina.

“You are free to discuss and write whatever you want, but I will focus on the issues that are on our agenda.”

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