Analyzing claims that woman run countries have dealt with pandemic better
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
Women showed more empathy and support for the welfare of their followers—and when people feel they are being taken care of, they are more likely to comply with social distancing measures and mask wearing.
There is a saying: “The best man for the job is a woman.” Well, according to some recent studies this might be true. Many reports claim that countries led by female leaders have done better at handling the COVID-19 pandemic with fewer COVID related deaths, a smaller number of days of deaths, and a lower peak in daily deaths.
A recent Bloomberg article from February 2021 cites studies that suggest countries like Germany, Taiwan, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, and Finland (all led by women) have dealt with the pandemic better. The report claims this is because of how fast they imposed self quarantine policies, increased testing, enforced mask wearing, or put their countries under lockdown. The authors of this study say they found that women showed more empathy and support for the welfare of their followers—and when people feel they are being taken care of, they are more likely to comply with social distancing measures and mask wearing.
Another study called “Leading the Fight Against the Pandemic: Does Gender ‘Really’ Matter” by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum echoes these findings. The study claims that after analyzing 194 countries the difference of COVID deaths and cases is due to the “proactive and coordinated policy responses” that women took in response to the pandemic. The authors of the study compared some of these countries to “nearest neighbour” countries to use as a sample. For instance, countries all led by women like Germany, New Zealand, and Bangladesh were compared to countries led by males like England, Ireland, and Pakistan.
Researchers of the previously mentioned study also says that female leaders were “risk adverse with regard to lives” which suggests they were also willing to take risks when it came to the economic sector of the pandemic. They go on to say that under the criteria “openness to travel,” countries run by females did have about the same COVID-19 cases but did have fewer deaths.
Others say different, however. According to Leah C. Windsor, author of “Gender in the Time of COVID-19: Evaluating National Leadership and COVID-19 Fatalities,” she explains that her research shows no evidence that women-led countries fared better with COVID-19 than male-led countries.
The study shows that countries with higher rates of egalitarianism do have lower rates of coronavirus-related deaths but suggests that this is not because of the gender of the country’s leader. “The perception that women world leaders have done better vis-a-vis COVID-19 cases and deaths largely comes from the fact that other researchers and the media have focused primarily on [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] OECD countries, whereas we looked at the entire global sample of countries,” Windsor says in PsyPost article. “The cases people tended to focus on were New Zealand and Iceland—two remote island nations with relatively small populations, where borders are easy to control.”
Research from this study found that cultural morals and norms also have an affect on coronavirus cases and deaths, as Windsor adds “countries with more egalitarian cultures will rebound quicker and have less profound negative consequences—and many of these are led by women.”