Women Leaders Around the World handling the Coronavirus Pandemic better than their Male Counterparts

Women leaders are doing a disproportionately great job at handling the pandemic. So why aren’t there more of them?

IN Taiwan, early intervention measures have controlled the coronavirus pandemic so successfully that it is now exporting millions of face masks to help the European Union and others.

Germany has overseen the largest-scale coronavirus testing programme in Europe, conducting 350,000 tests each week, detecting the virus early enough to isolate and treat patients effectively.
In New Zealand, the prime minister took early action to shut down tourism and impose a month-long lockdown on the entire country, limiting coronavirus casualties to just nine deaths.
All three places have received accolades for their impressive handling of the coronavirus pandemic. They are scattered across the globe: one is in the heart of Europe, one is in Asia and the other is in the South Pacific.
But they have one thing in common: they’re all led by women!
The success of these and other women-led governments in dealing with a global pandemic is all the more noteworthy, given that women make up less than 7 per cent of world leaders.

These countries, all multi-party democracies with high levels of public trust in their governments, have contained the pandemic through early, scientific intervention. They have implemented widespread testing, easy access to quality medical treatment, aggressive contact tracing and tough restrictions on social gatherings.

Take Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people – with roughly the same population as Australia off China’s east coast. Taiwan is claimed by Beijing as its territory and shunned by the World Health Organisation, so it should have been highly vulnerable to an epidemic originating in mainland China.
But when Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen heard about a mysterious new virus infecting the citizens of Wuhan in December last year, she immediately ordered all planes arriving from Wuhan to be inspected.
She then set up an epidemic command centre, ramped up production of personal protective equipment such as face masks and restricted all flights from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Taiwan’s early, aggressive intervention measures have limited the outbreak to just 393 confirmed infections and six deaths. The US State Department cites Taiwan’s coronavirus success in calling for Taiwan to be given observer status in the WHO’s World Health Assembly.
Are more women leaders needed?
It’s too early to say definitively which leaders will emerge as having taken enough of the right steps to control the spread of coronavirus and save lives. But the examples above show that a disproportionately large number of leaders who acted early and decisively were women.
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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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