LONDON: The BBC conceded Friday it was wrong for writing about Jacinda Ardern’s shock resignation as prime minister of New Zealand with the headline: “Can women have it all?”
The since-deleted headline was posted Thursday on Twitter with a link to an article by BBC World, the UK broadcaster’s global newsroom.
Angry commentators contrasted it with BBC headline writers’ ungendered coverage of male politicians including Boris Johnson, the thrice-married father of seven who quit as UK prime minister last year.
One labelled it “staggering sexism” while others accused the BBC of “misogyny”.
The headline was later changed to say: “Departure reveals unique pressures on PM.” The story mentioned Ardern’s life as a working mother of a small child.
“We quickly recognised the original headline wasn’t suitable for the story and changed it accordingly. We also deleted the associated tweet,” a BBC spokesperson told AFP.
The 42-year-old Ardern — who steered New Zealand through natural disasters, the Covid pandemic, and its worst-ever terror attack — said she no longer had “enough in the tank”.
While Ardern has not shied away from discussing the strains of office, she has been quick to shoot down sexist lines of questioning.
In November, at a joint news conference with her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin, they were asked by a male journalist if they were meeting because they were “similar in age and got a lot of common stuff there”.
Referring to former US and New Zealand leaders, Ardern queried “whether or not anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were of similar age?”