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Coronavirus: Why female leaders are proving more effective

Female leaders are proving to be more effective in handling the coronavirus pandemic than their counterparts.

Seven countries, all led by women, have been singled out to have some of the best and most effective coronavirus responses and some sharp columnists swiftly took note of the unique identifier; they are all women-led.

These countries have been hailed for their swift response to the pandemic, including early mass testing and early lockdowns, which lowered mortality rates. The countries include Germany, New Zealand, Finland, Taiwan, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

While leaders such as Boris Johnson and Trump downplayed the effects of the virus, German chancellor Merkel warned that the results might be grave, the virus should be taken very seriously. She was among the very first world leaders to take the pandemic quite seriously.

She sternly warned Germans that if they were not careful, up to 70 per cent of the population could be infected.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has been offering free coronavirus testing to all of Iceland’s citizens, while most countries have limited testing to people with active symptoms. As a result, the tiny country with less than 400,000 residents has already screened five times as many people as South Korea has, without having to shut schools or institute widespread lockdowns.

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Kathleen Gersen, a professor of sociology at New York University said, “Among the countries which have done a better job of handling this pandemic and the spillover effects that it has had, women are disproportionately represented to a rather startling degree.”

She told Changing America that women could pose a different approach to leadership. Women face additional sex-based hurdles on their path to leadership positions, and as a result narrows female leadership candidacy to what she calls “a fairly select group.”

Female leaders are also likely to be nourished and supported within societies that they have a certain culture,” she says, such as those same Nordic countries that enjoy record-topping levels of gender equality.

Should the same scenario play out in a patriarchal society then female leaders tend to receive less support even if they are more qualified. The environment of leadership could also be a determining factor.

A visible attribute could also be that women leaders are far more empathetic. They are able to empathise with victims, families, caregivers and health workers a lot better than male leaders, placing them at the forefront of fighting disease more humanely than other leaders.

Germany is recording some of the lowest cases of the pandemic in the EU with 91,500 recoveries and 49,601 active cases while having 145,743 total cases.

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