By Angie Gabeau, Staff Photographer, May 2020
During this difficult time, world leaders have been working around the clock to find the best tactics to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. Their reactions and response towards the coronavirus are a testament to their strength and capabilities as a leader. In the US, President Trump and many state governors are receiving backlash for their job dealing with the crisis. The US currently has the most cases in the world with almost 3,500 cases per million. In contrast, countries like Taiwan and New Zealand have been widely recognized for their work keeping their case numbers low, such as 18 cases per million in Taiwan! They were all quick to implement social distancing and quarantining to contain the virus, even when it was at very low numbers. There is a common thread between these countries: women leaders.
Of the 193 United Nations member countries’ leaders, only 15 are women. Especially because female leadership is so rare, these few women have made a big impact on the world. They have recently been flooding the news, receiving praise and gratitude for how they have been handling the coronavirus. Videos of Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway speaking directly to the children of Norway went viral as she answered their questions about the coronavirus. Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland utilizes social media to educate her constituents on their country’s response.
Leaders around the world were tested by this pandemic, having to act quickly and decisively to stop the spread of COVID-19. Interestingly, Forbes reported, “The ones who passed this test with flying colors are disproportionately women. This is despite the fact that they make up only 7% of heads of state.” Historically, men have always been seen as the leaders within households or larger communities. However, times like this evidently show the capabilities of women leading countries and other large institutions.
Overall, strict legislation, a good relationship with the people, and transparency are methods that have been proven to help countries slow the virus’ growth. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden of New Zealand placed many restrictions on New Zealanders to stay home and “social distance,” yet she also shows compassion and sympathy for her citizens. This has garnered trust from her constituents, making her efforts more successful. From the beginning of this virus, she emphasized the gravity of the situation, urging people to stay home and placing the country under a “Level 3” lockdown after just 102 confirmed cases. New Zealand is close to completely eliminating the virus and reopening public spaces.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world and the US, these female leaders set great examples that other countries can follow. Their leadership skills have allowed them to contain and hopefully eliminate this virus from their nations.