Gladys Berejiklian and Anastacia Palaszczuk have shown themselves to be better leaders of their states in Australia than many men who are leaders of their countries today.
Similarly, Jacinta Ardern has kept pandemic numbers in New Zealand amongst the lowest if not the lowest in the world. Angela Merkel, German leader, has presented a calm, compassionate face as has Norway’s Erna Solberg.
University of Adelaide professor emerita Carol Johnson has written that women are better leaders when a health crisis, such as the present pandemic, is impacting so severely on the world’s health. Johnson calls it ‘protective femininity’. Politics generally does not work in favour of women, but COVID-19 has removed some of the disadvantages usually experienced by progressive female leaders.
“Protective femininity’ can be best described as exhibiting characteristics of caring and support, and this pandemic requires this response. These female leaders also demonstrate strong organisational skills and an investment in diversity in their handling of the pandemic.
Both Berejiklian and Palaszczuk have demonstrated those characteristics. They have been compared more favourably to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson who placed more emphasis on a middle-class white man’s response around greater concern for the economic health of a country rather than concern about the number of deaths and dying reported daily from those countries through the pandemic.
These women leaders are still considered authoritative, but they combine it with compassion and caring. A potent combination.
The election of Kamala Harris, newly announced vice-president-elect of the United States, has clearly shown that people are looking for a more compassionate and understanding leadership. According to Carol Johnson that is proving to be a great strength in these present challenging times of COVID-19.
Ref: Jenna Price. University of Technology, Sydney.
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