There is a study out that asks whether gender matters in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Originally published in the ESI Africa Women’s Day newsletter on 10/08/2020
It’s a question that deserves our interest as yesterday I digitally joined a celebration for the South African Women’s Day national holiday. The theme for this year boldly announced that “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”.
Through the ages, women have taken brave steps to bring gender into the mainstream and address inequality—in the workplace, at home, and even in government.
In the early 20th century, few countries allowed women to vote, let alone become president or prime minister. Today, there are currently 23 female heads of state, the most famous being Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ladies, you too can become a head of state, if you want. Or the founder of a tech start-up, or enter the many fields of engineering. However, be prepared to battle the ‘glass ceiling’ and fight for equal pay no matter your career choice.
Sadly, this is the case even as a meme is doing the social media rounds highlighting an idea; that women make better leaders. “What do countries with the best COVID-19 responses have in common? Women leaders!”
In the study I mentioned at the start, the authors of Leading the Fight Against the Pandemic: Does Gender ‘Really’ Matter? state: “Our findings show that COVID-outcomes are systematically better in countries led by women and, to some extent, this may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses adopted by them.”
Will this finally put to rest the preconception that women are too emotional to lead a project, team, company or country? Probably not, but it’s a start to the next level of conversation needed around our generation of gender-equal professionals.
Happy Women’s Day to fellow South Africans.