6 things we can learn from how women leaders have handled the pandemic

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

October 26, 2020

6 things we can learn from how women leaders have handled the pandemic


Times of crisis can foster innovation and illumination.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the ability of world leaders to respond to its enormous and interlocking challenges. Some have stumbled, while some have risen to the occasion.

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox — the CEO of 20-first, a global gender-balance consultancy based in the UK — has been particularly interested in what we can learn from women leaders, and she points out that many of the countries with the strongest initial response to the global crisis have been led by women. This is more than just a casual observation.

In fact, an analysis of 194 countries revealed that infection and fatality rates in the first three months of the pandemic were generally lower in countries with female leaders.

One possible reason: Many women-led countries made the controversial discussion to go into lockdown earlier. That said, only 7 percent of the world’s leaders are women, so it may be a small sample to draw conclusions from (interestingly, that’s the percentage of women CEOs in the Fortune 500).

Wittenberg-Cox has identified four common threads in women’s leadership during the pandemic: trust, decisiveness, tech, love.

She emphasizes that good leaders from both genders all used the first three (trust, decisiveness, tech), but the fourth factor — love — is what really set the women apart. “What I found very interesting is these women were much more ready and comfortable expressing love and care while leading,” she says.

Click here to read the full article published by Ideas on 24 September 2020.

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