After the novel coronavirus broke out and slowly spread across the world, there's no denying that some countries did better than the others when it comes to controlling the outbreak. And what did most of those countries have in common? They were all led by women leaders. While this interesting observation was made quite a few months ago, research has finally confirmed it. Women leaders have, in fact, had a better response to controlling COVID-19, found a recent study.
The research showed that countries led by women locked down earlier and suffered half as many deaths on average than those led by men. Published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum, the study suggested that the difference is real and “may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses” adopted by female leaders.
The research was co-authored by Supriya Garikipati, a developmental economist at Liverpool University and Uma Kambhampati, Professor of Economics and Head of School at the University of Reading. For the purpose of the study, they analysed GDP, total population, population density and proportion of elderly residents, as well as annual health spending per head, openness to international travel and level of gender equality in society in general.
“Our results clearly indicate that women leaders reacted more quickly and decisively in the face of potential fatalities,” Supriya Garikipati told The Guardian. “In almost all cases, they locked down earlier than male leaders in similar circumstances. While this may have longer-term economic implications, it has certainly helped these countries to save lives, as evidenced by the significantly lower number of deaths in these countries," she added.
The researchers said they analysed differing policy responses and the total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths until May 19. “The analysis clearly confirms that when women-led countries are compared to countries similar to them along with a range of characteristics, they have performed better, experiencing fewer cases as well as fewer deaths,” said Garikipati.
The researchers found that the female leaders were more 'risk-averse' with regard to their citizens' lives, and were also willing to take 'risks in the domain of the economy'.
These women just smashed the age-old stereotype that women are 'too emotional' to run the country. Turns out, it's good to be emotional and have empathy--because these leaders chose to focus on saving life rather than the economy. On the flip side, the three worst-hit countries are led by male leaders.
Make of that information what you will.
Feature Image: Time/Quartz
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