Numerous media outlets are touting the fact that most of the countries who are handling the pandemic the best are countries headed by women. April 12, 2020, data from the European Centre for Disease Control shows in Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, and Taiwan their leaders have stood up strongly & decisively – and early – to face this problem head-on.
At the first signs of the disease, in January President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan quickly instituted 124 measures including travel bans and quarantines. To date there have been only about 400 cases of infection and about 6 deaths out of a population of 23 million. By comparison, New York has a slightly lower population with over 300,000 cases of infection and more than 22,000 deaths as of this writing.
At the time there were only 6 reported cases in New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began measures which she clearly defined as necessary while at the same time she showed great empathy for what everyone had to endure. She set up frequent Facebook Live chats that have been described as both informal and informative. She explained very carefully the justification of severe policies.
Angela Merkel has a doctorate in quantum chemistry so she understood very well the seriousness of COVID-19 As the Chancellor of Germany she was well-prepared to lead her country through this pandemic. When she found it necessary to lock down her country, she went before the cameras – something she rarely does - appealed to her countrymen and women with rationale but with emotion as well. Germans trusted her and so have done what she has asked for the benefit of all. While the number of deaths from the virus continues to inch up above 4000 in Germany, that number is less than half of those who have died in the state of New York alone.
While one could argue about the small sizes of Demark, Finland, and Norway when comparing the effectiveness of their battle against the virus to much larger countries, their successes are none the less notable. Once again Mette Frederiksen of Denmark, Katrin Jakobsodottir, Sanna Marin of Finland, and Erna Solberg of Norway acted strong and decisively – and early! Among their efforts have been widespread testing and using social media to appeal, not just to the adults, but to teens and children. Co-ordinated, factual information together with trust and an emotional component seems to have had a major impact on getting people to work together for the common good.
Are we witnessing new leadership in this world?