BBC faces backlash over 'staggeringly' sexist Jacinda Ardern headline

 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern resigned on Thursday. (Getty)
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The BBC has been criticised for a 'staggeringly sexist' headline put on an article about the resignation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Ardern announced on Thursday she would be resigning next month, saying she "no longer had enough in the tank" to do the job justice.

She said the pressures of the job had been too difficult for her private life, especially for her young daughter and partner.

The news was covered across the world and, alongside its main coverage, the BBC published an article headlined 'Jacinda Ardern resigns: Can women really have it all?'

The article examines the difficulty she faced when she became the one of world's youngest leaders and became only the second female head of state to give birth while she held office.

Read more: BBC presenter says 2022 saw 'the death of shame' in politics

The BBC's article looked at how Jacinda Ardern balanced being a mother and a head of state. (Getty)
The BBC's article looked at how Jacinda Ardern balanced being a mother and a head of state. (Getty)

It covers the criticism she faced as she tried to navigate maternity leave, the burdens of caring for newborn children and its incompatibility with being the leader of a country.

It points out that she is currently very unpopular in her home country, despite her popularity abroad, and that she would face a difficult battle for reelection in this year's vote.

The article was written by journalist Tessa Wong, but news websites occasionally have different people write their headlines than the author of the piece.

The headline of the article was criticised online for being sexist.

The BBC was criticised for its headline. (Twitter)
The BBC was criticised for its headline. (Twitter)

Katherine O'Brien, an associate director at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service charity, said she could not believe the BBC "published this headline in the year 2023."

She added it was "staggering sexism."

TV presenter and journalist Sangita Myska tweeted: "Saddened to see such a reductive, sexist and inaccurate headline from the BBC World. It should read “Jacinda Ardern resigns: a world leader showing courage by breaking the taboo of discussing emotional and mental wellbeing.”

Beth Prescott, a senior researcher at the The Centre for Social Justice think tank, said: "Whatever your views on Jacinda Ardern, this was a shocking and archaic headline from the BBC."

"At least they've changed it now, but it should never have been approved in the first place.

The BBC later deleted the tweet promoting the article and changed its name of it to 'Jacinda Ardern resigns: Departure reveals unique pressures on PM.'

In 2019, around six months after giving birth while serving in office, Ardern told the BBC in an interview: "I'm not a superwoman... and we shouldn't pretend that we are. That does a disservice to all women. It raises expectations that no one can meet."