Visible Women

From Jacinda Ardern to Christine Blasey Ford: the women making waves this week

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Moya Crockett
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Dropping every Friday, Women Making Waves is a series highlighting the women who rocked the boat, pushed for change and made history around the world this week.    

Jacinda Ardern makes history by taking baby to United Nations 

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern with her partner Clarke Gayford and baby Neve at the UN 

On Monday (24 September), New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took her three-month-old daughter Neve to a gathering of the UN general assembly in New York. She is the first world leader to attend one of the meetings with a baby in tow.

Ardern, who gave birth to Neve in June, played with her daughter before delivering a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit. Her partner, Clarke Gayford, held Neve while Ardern spoke.

As well as being the second political leader ever to give birth while in office, 38-year-old Ardern is also one of the world’s youngest heads of state. Although she went back to work six weeks after Neve’s birth, she is still breastfeeding – meaning that her daughter has to go with her when she travels.

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Ardern said that she wanted to “normalise” the image of working mothers. “If we want to make workplaces more open, we need to acknowledge logistical challenges,” she said, adding: “By being more open it might create a path for other women.”

While his wife is busy running New Zealand, Gayford acts as their daughter’s primary caregiver. On Twitter, he shared a (very sweet) photo of Neve’s UN ID. 

Mindy Kaling discusses how she’s making Hollywood more diverse

Mindy Kaling is currently working on a reboot of Four Weddings and a Funeral 

On Wednesday (26 September), Mindy Kaling said that her efforts to increase diversity in Hollywood seem to be working.

“I’ve seen an enormous amount of change,” she told Variety. “I’m noticing that even in hiring that before you used to have to convince people, ‘Hey the crew need to be like 50% diverse in some way’ or ‘This show needs to reflect diversity.’

“It used to be convincing people, and now you don’t have to convince people. They know. I don’t know whether it’s fear of being shamed publicly or litigation, but whatever it is, it’s working.”

Kaling also discussed her commitment to depicting interracial marriages on-screen. As part of her Hulu reboot of Four Weddings and a Funeral, she is in the process of casting a diverse set of leads that include an African American woman and a British Pakistani man.

“There are many, many millions of people who would be very interested in seeing two good looking people who aren’t traditionally portrayed on TV as in falling in love,” she said. “And as someone who’s been in exclusively interracial romances, I think it’s fun to write for them.”

Christine Blasey Ford delivers powerful sexual assault testimony

Blasey Ford testifies at the hearing

The woman everyone was talking about this week was Dr Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault. On Thursday (27 September), Ford appeared in front of the US Senate Judicial Committee to give her account of the attack, which she says happened when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers in 1982.

Ford was widely praised for her composure and dignity during the hearing. “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty,” she said, in prepared remarks released on Wednesday.

During the hearing, Ford was asked what her strongest memory was from the alleged assault. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense,” she said. 

She described Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, who she says was in the room at the time of the assault, as “two friends having a really good time with one another”.

At the time of publication, the Senate Judiciary Committee had not yet reached a decision on whether to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. If his nomination is approved, he will be one of the most powerful judges in the US, with the ability to make pivotal rulings on issues such as women’s reproductive rights.

Read more about the Kavanaugh hearings here.

Women Making Waves is part of Stylist’s Visible Women campaign to raise awareness of women who’ve made a difference to society. See more Visible Women stories here.  

Images: Getty Images