Care, empathy, listening, and collaboration are all ‘feminine qualities’ that are able to produce transparency and accountability at times of mass confusion. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value, and necessity of female leadership.
Germany, New Zealand, Finland, and Taiwan led by Angela Merkel, Jacinda Arden, Sanna Marin, and Tsai Ingwen respectively have exemplified how countries led by women have been particularly successful in fighting the Coronavirus outbreak. Arden led the way forward for female leadership through her address to the Kiwi public announcing the imposed lockdown in March through a casual and empathetic conversation over Facebook Live. Not only was Arden able to resonate with the people of her nation, but she was able to put the country on track for success against the coronavirus through her effective leadership. Helen Clark, one of New Zealand’s previous prime ministers asserted the sentiment that people feel that Arden is not preaching but rather standing with her public.
Arden’s approach worked remarkably well and can be attributed to New Zealand’s success in quickly containing the pandemic.
Likewise, more prominent inclusion of females results in a broader viewpoint on crisis, setting the stone for the development of enhanced and more complete solutions than if they have been envisioned by a homogeneous group of males. The challenges we face in the 21st century such as climate change, the depletion of the Earth’s resources, and the development of new technologies call for a more feminine influenced leadership. Gender balanced environments can produce more resilient decisions. Female leadership fundamentally involves resilience, empathy, collaboration, and the recognition of collective contribution. Collaboration and the participation of everyone’s intelligence is the key to success. One example being Angela Merkel’s consideration of a variety of information sources when developing Germany’s coronavirus policy.
However, COVID-19 has also disproportionately affected women as mothers especially are paying a price for lockdown. The shift to working from home, furloughing and school closures have affected how parents spend their time. Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the UCL Institute of Education has revealed that mothers are more likely than fathers to have left paid work since February. Mothers who are still in paid work have seen a larger reduction in hours of work. Among those working from home, mothers are more likely than fathers to spend their work hours simultaneously caring for their children.
Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic may even set women’s economic progress back half a century according to a warning from the UN. Explanations behind this result in the fact that women tend to cluster in low-paying industries and part-time jobs – with 70% of these positions falling within the first eleven weeks of the pandemic, in addition to the rising demands of full-time childcare as aforementioned.
So, what will a post-COVID-19 world require from women?
Although women, especially mothers have been inordinately affected by the demands arisen as result of the pandemic, female leadership and resilience has provided the transparency and accountability needed at a time of mass confusion. Diversity in leadership is also good for business, for example, the Harvard Business School reported that firms that increased their proportion of female partner hires by 10% on average had 9.7% more profitable exits.
Quite simply, we will require more female leadership as they can provide better results!
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