The many legacies of Jacinda Ardern

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resignation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was perhaps more a shock to her admirers abroad than her compatriots at home. For much of her more than half decade in

power, Ardern seemed a leader whose stature on the world stage belied the relative smallness of her nation and the vagaries of its parliamentary politics. She was a champion of

the 21st century center left: a staunch defender of pluralism and tolerance within her own society and elsewhere, an advocate for climate action, and a global feminist icon. The

example of her charisma and capacity for empathy led to a phenomenon that swept the world: Jacindamania. At home, though, Ardern’s reputation was more mixed, and her

decision to quit the post followed a turbulent last two years in office. Her maneuvering in the wake of a global pandemic and decision to impose vaccination mandates in certain

contexts stoked an angry backlash from some corners of the electorate. Violent protests rocked New Zealand’s customarily placid political scene and the prime minister became the

target of a wave of anti-establishment hate, some of it rooted in online misinformation and offline misogyny. And so Ardern, 42, reckoned that it was better to remove

herself from the firing line. “I know what this job takes,” she said at an emotional news conference last week. “And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it

justice.”