Watch: Jacinda Ardern fields sexist question from a reporter
The New Zealand prime minister has dismissed a patronising question about why she met the Finnish leader Sanna Marin.
Jacinda Ardern, 42, shot down a journalist who asked if she was meeting her Finnish counterpart in Auckland because they were of similar age and had "stuff" in common.
Marin, 37, was also quick to dismiss the query on Wednesday, adding they were meeting because they were the prime ministers of their countries.
As two of the youngest heads of government and among a small percentage of female world leaders the two women have long faced questions about their age and gender.
“A lot of people will be wondering are you two meeting just because you’re similar in age and, you know, got a lot of common stuff there," a journalist asked during a joint news conference.
Ardern quickly cut him off, saying: “I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked (ex-US president) Barack Obama and (former New Zealand prime minister) John Key if they met because they were of similar age.
“We, of course, have a higher proportion of men in politics, it’s reality. Because two women meet it’s not simply because of their gender.”
Marin, visiting New Zealand for the first time as PM, emphasised the two countries growing trade ties, adding: “We are meeting because we are prime ministers."
Ardern has been vocal about women’s rights since she became the world’s youngest female head of government when she was sworn in as New Zealand’s prime minister in 2017 aged 37.
She also criticised the decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that recognised women's constitutional right to abortion, branding the decision "a loss for women everywhere".
During their meeting, Ardern and Marin also welcomed the UN Human Rights Council resolution that established a fact-finding mission to Iran to independently investigate the alleged human rights violations there, including those of women and girls.
Marin said: "I also worry about the situation in Iran right now ... the brave women that are protesting against the laws and the security situation of women in Iran, we need to address these kind of issues together.”
Ardern also welcomed Finland's commitment to ensure the free trade agreement with the European Union gets ratified and signed as soon as possible, after finalising it earlier this year.
The trade deal is expected to increase New Zealand's exports to the EU by up to NZ$1.8bn (£0.94bn) per year.
The prime ministers also discussed a range of geo-political issues, including the global economic downturn, labour shortages and the cost of living pressures across the world.