ForbesWomen Weekly: Jacinda Ardern’s Shocking Resignation. Plus: Why Do Women Take Less Time Off Than Men?


This is this week’s ForbesWomen newsletter, which every Thursday morning brings news about the world’s top female entrepreneurs, leaders and investors straight to your inbox. Click here to get on the newsletter list!

Last night, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she will step down from her post within the next three weeks (“no later than February 7,” she said). The surprise announcement ends a five-year tenure in which Ardern steered New Zealand through a series of crises, including the pandemic, and emerged as one of the world’s most powerful women.

In her remarks Wednesday night, Ardern alluded to feelings of burnout, saying in part, “I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice.” Now 42, Ardern was elected in 2017 at 37 amid a wave of support that was coined “Jacindamania” and made her the world’s youngest female head of state. (Finland’s Sanna Marin has since broken that record.)

Ardern became something of a feminist icon while in office—in 2018, she became the first woman in Kiwi history to give birth while in office—and her early (and strict) response to the coronavirus pandemic won international plaudits. However, her popularity within New Zealand has wavered as the pandemic has raged on: protests broke out over vaccine mandates and 2022 saw a sharp increase in recorded threats against the prime minister.

“I am not leaving because it was hard. Had that been the case I probably would have departed two months into the job!” Ardern said Wednesday night. “I am leaving because with such a privileged role comes responsibility—the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also, when you are not.”



P.S.: When a leader like Ardern is in the news—a leader who has carved an image that is approachable and compassionate—it can be tempting to refer to her by her first name. However, it’s important to resist this temptation, because as ForbesWomen contributor Joan Michelson writes here, calling female heads of state by their first name is a sign of gender bias.

Featured Forbes Profile: They Lost Millions To Crypto Scammers. This Prosecutor Is Helping Them Get It Back.

Erin West, a deputy district attorney in California, has emerged as one of the country’s experts in successfully recouping money swindled by crypto criminals. Even as federal agencies like the FBI and DOJ ramp up their efforts to catch crypto criminals, West, as a local prosecutor, has been able to do what few members of law enforcement at any level are publicly known to have done – claw back funds that innocent Americans have been swindled out of. Read more, here.

ICYMI: News Of The Week

This week, Forbes and Know Your Value released the latest chapter in our annual 50 Over 50 project: the 50 Over 50 in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The 2023 EMEA list includes entrepreneurs like Mumzworld cofounder Mona Ataya and bet365 founder Denise Coates; actor-turned-restaurateur Sophia Loren; exiled journalist Galina Timchenko and many, many more.

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, who has a PhD in cosmology, said Black women who study physics have long been overlooked and under-cited, especially if they lack ties to prestigious institutions. So she led a multi-year effort to create a list of all the professional publications by Black women with PhDs in physics-related disciplines with the goal of helping illuminate them and their work, and recently released her findings as a 4,000-entry database.

Ivana Trump left behind $34 million of assets when she died in July, according to previously unreported probate documents. Her will specified that most of that should be split between her three children, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.

Veteran venture capital investor and Cake Ventures founding partner Monique Woodard last week unveiled her first fund, a $17 million vehicle focusing on pre-seed and seed investments, targeting $500,000 checks for companies forging true demographic change.

The Checklist

1. Find a mentor who can grow with you. If you’re in the market for a mentor, you might be looking at the top of an organization—the CEO, a fellow founder, etc. While these people all have fabulous insights to share, sometimes the best mentor is a senior colleague, past boss, or someone with whom you can rise the ranks together.

2. Lose the guilt and take your PTO. Or at least make a plan to take some time off. Some 55% of PTO went unused last year. Moreover, a recent study shows women are 19% less comfortable taking PTO than men. Let’s change those statistics, shall we? Time off is good for our minds and our businesses’ bottom lines.

3. Beef up your freelance skills. A new report from freelance platform Upwork finds that some of the most in-demand freelance skills in early 2023 are accounting, lead generation, data entry, customer service and graphic design.

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