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          Female Leadership During COVID-19: What Can We Learn?

          Countries led by women have seen markedly fewer coronavirus cases, raising the question of whether gender plays a role in leadership style

          The outbreak of COVID-19 has been an enormous test of leadership. Around the world, heads of state have been forced to spring to action in a bid to tackle the pandemic. 

          Throughout this turbulent period one thing is clear: some countries have fared markedly better than others in suppressing the coronavirus—and these countries tend to have female leaders.

          One recent analysis from the University of Pretoria and Trinity College Dublin found that countries with female heads of state suffered six times fewer confirmed coronavirus deaths than countries led by men.

          In Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir has offered free tests to all citizens. In Germany, Angela Merkel has been praised for a response that saw Germany contract far fewer cases than its European neighbors. And in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern has been praised for consistent advice, open communication, and early action. 

          This trend brings to light some important questions about female leadership. Do women lead differently to men, are they more effective, and how does this translate to handling a crisis like coronavirus?

          Leadership styles: are men and women different?

          There is no clear consensus on whether men and women have inherently different leadership styles, and generalizations can be tricky.

          “Women in general lean toward collaboration and people skills (but not always), but then, so do effective men,” explains Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor of business at Harvard Business School, and author of Men and Women of the Corporation.

          Studying women’s leadership is a complex task, partly because there are still relatively few women in positions of power. Women continue to be underrepresented in leadership—accounting for just 16 head of state positions, and 20% of board director seats in 2020. 

          Number of Female Heads of State Since 2010


          Read next:

          Why Black Women In The US Are Being Hit Hardest By Coronavirus

          Has Coronavirus Brought Brick-And-Mortar Retail To An End?

          BB Insights explores the latest research and trends from the business school classroom, drawing on the expertise of world-leading professors to inspire and inform current and future leaders

          The lead images for this article are credited to Hazhk & Raimond Spekking under this license, and Magnus Fröderberg under this license



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          Monday 29th June 2020, 21.32 (UTC)


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