Female global leaders lost fewer people during Covid – here’s the likely reason

As an American citizen living in the UK, I will not be the only person who has speculated how things might have been different, if at all, with more female global leaders over the last few years. 

We’ve been living through overconfidence as male leaders talk about how they’re handling Covid, the economic crisis, and now readiness to tackle climate change. It does make you wonder –  as we go back to ‘business as usual’, even as Covid rates remain high. 

That’s why this research from both the University of Liverpool and University of Reading caught my eye. The research team found that in the early months of the pandemic, covid mortality rates were lower in countries with female global leaders.

That effect isn’t limited to national politics alone. The U.S. has seen the same effect depending on who is leading each state. Simply put, there have been fewer US deaths in states with female governors. Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole female leaders introduced lockdowns sooner and faced less resistance. 

As anyone who, like me, worships at the altar of Jacinda Ardern knows, that’s in part because the female global leaders were more likely to acknowledge people’s fears and express compassion for their pain.

It’s not that women are better listeners and leaders than men. They are simply more likely to have mastered at least outward empathy in order to succeed, in a way we don’t require from men. 

Being a ‘caring’ woman is an expectation for female leaders, while a caring man is a complete hero 🙁 

It’s worth asking yourself: 

  • How has my empathy as a leader worked for me?
  • How has it worked against me? 
  • What’s more important to me: empathy OR success?
  • How can I merge my assumptions about both?

What will come out of those questions for you?

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