One of undeniable accomplishments that has risen out of the pandemic is the high success rate of women leaders. While there are many different factors which could affect a country’s policy decisions, one that stuck out to us was the COVID-19 responses by countries with women heads of state. When it comes to lockdowns, female leaders were much more quick to respond and decisive with shutting down their countries when compared to their male counterparts. One example of this comparison is in Hong Kong, led by a woman, the amount of cases was 1,056 v in Singapore, led by a man, and had 28,794 cases. Another example is Norway (woman led) with 8,257 cases v Ireland (man led) with 24,200 cases. This stark difference is because women-led countries like New Zealand & Germany locked down much more quickly and decisively than man-lead countries because women are more averse to risk than men.
The great success of these women-led countries has people wondering: Why? Research has proven that women tend to have “interpersonally-orientated” manners and tens to adapt to a more democratic and participative governing style with more clear communication styles. In research found by News Medical Life Science, they found that female leaders listened to experts, took quick and effective decisions, and therefore were able to relax the restrictions sooner or avoid lockdown altogether. There are theories about biology playing a role into how leaders govern. However, a political scientist at Tulane University did a study that determined that the gender of a leader is not a basis for causing a quicker/slower lock down response time. In Brené Brown’s book, dare to lead, she talks about how the traits that make the best leaders have nothing to do with hardwired personalities, and everything to do with learned traits. The core traits that make great leaders can be learned/unlearned. For women to get to the same level as men in politics, they must jump through more hoops and are held to a higher standard than their male counterparts. As a result, they are more competent, and are more decisive than the male leaders.
Another factor is who these women work with. The best decisions are made when the people in charge are well informed from many different sources. This is more likely to happen with a diverse group of people. One of the suggested reasons is that governments with women leaders most likely have a more diverse group of people than male led countries. In an episode of Don’t Touch Your Face, a podcast hosted by James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon, they state that women are more likely to be elected into an organization that will handle the pandemic well. These societies usually have more political representation, which can lead to better health services. They also point out that these countries are traditionally wealthy. Palmer and Mackinnon call attention to the point that we should focus more on New Zealand and Taiwan are Islands than having women leaders. However, it should be made clear that this is one of the many reasons that women leaders are handling the pandemic better than male leaders. It has been shown through data that they were more effective in dealing with COVID-19 in their own countries during the pandemic.
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