New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday she was pregnant with her first child, prompting an outpouring of support from women’s rights groups and labor activists as she declared “I’ll be a prime minister and a mum”.
Ardern said she planned to work until the end of her pregnancy in June and then take six-weeks leave, during which time Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters would run the country.
Speaking to reporters outside her Auckland home, Ardern said her partner Clarke Gayford would care for the “surprise” addition full-time and that the whole family would travel together when necessary.
“I am not the first woman to work and have a baby. I know these are special circumstances but there are many women who have done it well before I have,” she said.
The popular 37-year-old politician’s pregnancy is one of the very few examples of an elected leader holding office while pregnant and the first in New Zealand’s history. Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto gave birth while she was prime minister in 1990.
Ardern, who came to power through a coalition deal after a closely fought election last year, has experienced a meteoric rise to power as New Zealand’s youngest prime minister in more than a century, and its third female leader.
Ardern’s rise to power has generated intense interest in her personal life and drew comparisons with other youthful leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
Ardern was quick to assure the public that she would only take six weeks off, during which time she would still be contactable, so that the country would run as usual.
The short period contrasts with her party’s parental leave policies, with the Labour-led coalition expanding paid parental leave from 18 to 22 weeks in one of its first legislative changes. That is set to rise again to 26 weeks in 2020.
Ardern acknowledged that she was “lucky” that her partner, a well-known television fishing show presenter, could take time off to travel with her while he cared for the baby full-time.
She had no plans to stop work until June and would fly to London in April to attend a Commonwealth leader’s meeting.
Advocacy groups and politicians from across the political spectrum were quick to offer support.
“It’s really inspiring…having our prime minister lead by example is a great sign of how far we’ve come in women’s industrial rights in New Zealand,” said Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff in an emailed statement to Reuters.
New Zealand has long held a progressive reputation, having been the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893.
It’s amazing timing…125 years later we have a prime minister who’s going to give birth in office,” said Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter.
Ardern revealed on Friday that she had unexpectedly found out she was pregnant on Oct. 13, just six days before she was propelled into the country’s top job when New Zealand First Party leader Peters announced he was siding with Labour in post-election negotiations.
When asked by a reporter how she had managed putting together a government while suffering from morning sickness, she replied, “it’s just what ladies do”.
Nigeria: Zamfara claims 3,000 lives lost to Gunmen
The Zamfara State government has claimed that it has lost 3,000 lives, with the state government spending some N17bn in the past seven years on fighting against banditry in the state.
The Secretary to the Government of Zamfara, Prof Abdullahi Shinkafi, made the disclosure on Sunday in Gusau at a town hall meeting, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association to find a lasting solution to the worsening insecurity in the state.According to Shinkafi, “the banditry has resulted in the death of over 3,000 people, destruction of over 2,000 homes, burning of over 500 cars and kidnapping of over 500 people for ransom.
FOLLOW US ON:
He recalled that the crisis which started as a minor clash between herders and farmers had been taken over by armed bandits, who had carried out about 40 attacks.
He attributed the banditry to the shortage of manpower in the state, stressing the need for more indigenes to show interest in joining the security services to protect the state.
TO DOWNLOAD OUR MOBILE NEWS APP CLICK HERE
Usual triggers of Schizophrenia
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person prone to developing the condition.
Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode. However, it’s not known why some people develop symptoms while others don’t.
Things that increase the chances of schizophrenia developing include:Genetics
Schizophrenia tends to run in families, but no single gene is proved to be responsible. It’s more likely that different combinations of genes make people more vulnerable to the condition. However, having these genes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop schizophrenia.
Evidence that the disorder is partly inherited comes from studies of twins. Identical twins share the same genes. If one twin develops schizophrenia, the other twin has a one in two chance of developing it, too. This is true even if they’re raised separately unlike in the case of unidentical twins.
While this is higher than in the general population, where the chance is about 1 in 100, it suggests genes aren’t the only factor influencing the development of schizophrenia.
FOLLOW US ON:
Studies of people with schizophrenia have shown there are subtle differences in the structure of their brains. These changes aren’t seen in everyone with schizophrenia and can occur in people who don’t have a mental illness. But they suggest schizophrenia may partly be a disorder of the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry messages between brain cells. There is a connection between neurotransmitters and schizophrenia because drugs that alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are known to relieve some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Research suggests schizophrenia may be caused by a change in the level of two neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin. Some studies indicate an imbalance between the two may be the basis of the problem. Others have found a change in the body’s sensitivity to the neurotransmitters is part of the cause of schizophrenia.
Pregnancy and birth complications
Research has shown people who develop schizophrenia are more likely to have experienced complications before and during their birth, such as: low birth weight, premature labor, lack of oxygen (asphyxia) during birth
Triggers are things that can cause schizophrenia to develop in people who are at risk. The main psychological triggers of schizophrenia are stressful life events, such as: bereavement, losing your job or home, divorce, end of a relationship, physical, sexual or emotional abuse
These kinds of experiences, although stressful, don’t cause schizophrenia. However, they can trigger its development in someone already vulnerable to it.
Drugs don’t directly cause schizophrenia, but studies have shown drug misuse increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or a similar illness. Certain drugs, particularly cannabis , cocaine, LSD or amphetamines, may trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in people who are susceptible.
Three major studies have shown teenagers under 15 who use cannabis regularly, especially “skunk” and other more potent forms of the drug, are up to four times more likely to develop schizophrenia by the age of 26.