BAt the first meeting of the two prime ministers from Finland and New Zealand, Sanna Marin and Jacinda Ardern skillfully dismissed doubts about the seriousness of their political exchange.
At a press conference in Auckland, the 37 and 42-year-old politicians were asked if they were only meeting because of their similar ages and similar experiences early in their political careers – or whether more deals could be expected between their countries.
“We meet because we are prime ministers”
The question had been preceded by several investigations into the use of the prime ministers for women’s issues and the common experience as women in politics. “We meet because we are prime ministers,” Marin replied quickly. Ardern had previously expressed irritation at the assumption that the meeting could have come about because of superficial similarities such as age and gender.
“Has anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were the same age?” Ardern said, referring to one of her predecessors. Of course, it is still the case that there is a higher proportion of men in politics. But when two women meet, it’s not just because of their gender.
There is great potential between the two countries. According to Marin, it is the first time ever that a sitting head of government of Finland is visiting New Zealand and neighboring Australia. The Finnish Prime Minister is accompanied by a large business delegation.