Women leaders’ competence on COVID: The proof

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

September 14, 2020

Women leaders’ competence on COVID: The proof


By Avivah Wittenberg-Cox,

Following a popular April blog I wrote titled What Do Countries With The Best Coronavirus Responses Have In Common? Women Leaders, I’m delighted to follow-up with academic research that proves the point. The data does indeed show that women leaders have navigated the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic more successfully than comparable male counterparts. This is the work of Supriya Garikipati and Uma Kambhampati, of Liverpool and Reading universities, respectively.

Detailed in their paper, Leading the Fight Against the Pandemic: Does Gender ‘Really’ Matter?, data confirms that COVID-19 outcomes are better in female-led countries. With this breakthrough study, the notion of successful female leadership can move beyond the media debate and into the research. As Garikipati and Kambhampati explain, “the performance of female leaders in the COVID pandemic offers a unique global experiment in national crisis management where various issues, including that of effectiveness of leadership, can be examined across countries.” To do this, they matched female-led countries against those with male leaders based on COVID-relevant social and demographic variables. They show that it is, in fact, leadership that drives differences in initial COVID outcomes. Statistically, female-led countries (as of publication), were quicker to lockdown and had fewer COVID fatalities than comparable, male-led countries.

Click here to read the full article published by Forbes on 8 September 2020.

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