First, she got flack for dancing. Now, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has had to justify an official visit to New Zealand.
“A lot of people will be wondering, are you two just meeting because you are similar in age and have a lot of common stuff there?” a journalist asked at a Marin-Ardern press conference in New Zealand on Wednesday.
Interrupting the reporter, the 42-year-old Ardern said: “I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked [former U.S. President] Barack Obama and [New Zealand’s former PM] John Key if they met because they were of similar age.” She continued: “Because two women meet it’s not simply because of their gender.”
Marin added pointedly: “We are meeting because we are prime ministers.”
Marin said she came to New Zealand — becoming the first Finnish PM to travel to the country on an official visit — to deepen ties, boost trade opportunities and cooperate on tackling climate change and other challenges.
This isn’t the first sexism and agism controversy the 37-year-old Marin has been embroiled in since becoming Finland’s prime minister in 2019. Earlier this year, she was attacked over a leaked video that showed her dancing at a private party. Marin was forced to take a drug test — which came back negative, before an official inquiry found she did not neglect her duties as prime minister.
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