Eight months ago, the tooth fairy flitted into New Zealand politics. During a national address, the country’s premier Jacinda Ardern declared that, although she was placing the population into a tight lockdown to combat Covid-19, “We do consider both the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny to be essential workers.” The video of her speech went viral. Was this just a piece of political theatre? Perhaps. But the humour, care and humanity it showed raise an intriguing question: have female leaders been better at rallying their voters to combat the pandemic than men? No doubt many readers will have their own views. And, as it happens, Covid-19 has hit the world when, for the first time in history, we arguably have a big enough sample size of male- and female-led countries to compare (this in itself is striking). If you look at the examples of female-led nations — New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Belgium (for most of the year), Taiwan and Scotland — the data is mixed but thought-provoking.
Click here to read the full article published by Financial Times on 2 December 2020.