Female leaders have found to be more successful at tackling Covid-19, according to a new academic study.
Much has been made of the effectiveness of leaders such as New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern and Germany's Angela Merkel, but new research has analysed 194 countries in looking at whether or not gender has played a role in keeping coronavirus death rates down.
Two researchers, Supriya Garikipati, a developmental economist at Liverpool University, co-author with Reading University’s Uma Kambhampati, analysed differing policy responses and subsequent total Covid-19 cases and deaths until 19 May. The study was published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum, and reported on by The Guardian.
The analysis showed that, even without outliers such as Ardern and Merkel, female-led countries had a lower Covid death rate when compared to countries of a similar size. This “may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses”.
"Our results clearly indicate that women leaders reacted more quickly and decisively in the face of potential fatalities,” said Supriya Garikipati, a developmental economist at Liverpool University, co-author with Reading University’s Uma Kambhampati.
“In almost all cases, they locked down earlier than male leaders in similar circumstances," she continued. "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.”
The datasets included 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. Garikipati said that women were more likely to have locked down their countries sooner than male leaders and were "risk averse with regard to lives”.
"Being female-led has provided countries with an advantage in the current crisis," added Garikipati.
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