(CNN)As two older, White, male candidates fought for supremacy in the United States election, New Zealand was offering its electorate a more progressive choice: two White women.
But in New Zealand, that was just the start.
When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was reelected in a landslide last month, she brought with her a diverse cast of politicians that make up what is — by some measures — the most inclusive parliament in the world.
Almost half of New Zealand’s newly sworn-in Parliament are women and 11% are openly LGBTQ. Both New Zealand’s Indigenous Māori and people with Pacific Island heritage are represented at a slightly higher rate than in the general population.
Politicians from diverse backgrounds aren’t just making up numbers in Parliament — they’re in key positions of power.
Eight of Ardern’s 20-strong cabinet — the highest-ranked lawmakers — are also women, and a quarter are Māori. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will be the first openly gay politician to hold that role in New Zealand. And foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta, who wears a moko kauae or traditional Māori face tattoo, is the first Indigenous woman in New Zealand’s history to represent the country in that position.
“It looks like New Zealand looks,” said Jennifer Curtin, a professor of politics and director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland, of the country’s government. “We’re not male, pale and stale anymore.”