Why 2020 has proved the power of female leadership

Article by Justina Mutale, Author of The Art of iconic Leadership: Power Secrets of Female World Leaders

female leader working from home, entrepreneur, woman on her phoneThe year 2020 will go down in modern history as the year in which the power of female leadership was brought to the fore. 

It is a year that has proved that given the same opportunities, female leaders have what it takes to handle a crisis better than their male counterparts. In one of the toughest years that has tested the mettle of every leader and every head of state or head of government across the globe, it is those countries that are led by women that have proved the far greater mettle in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a sudden standstill and sent the global economy into free-fall, while sending leaders and their populations into panic mode and despair in every country. In the management of Covid-19 at national level, women leaders have used their uncommon sense of natural wisdom to employ a different approach than that used by their male counterparts. Women leaders used their sixth sense, soft skills, and empathetic approach to tackle the spread of the virus. This approach, which is a marked departure from the male modus operandi, resulted in completely different and better outcomes for those countries led by women.

From time immemorial, women leaders have often triumphed in situations where men believed were unwinnable.  And over the ages, women have demonstrated their power to lead effectively in times of crisis. This is not surprising, because in times of crisis, women tend to deploy a sixth sense filled with a high degree of emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, care and motherly survival instinct, which leads to more effective ways of resolving matters in any given crisis. To tackle the pandemic, women leaders went above and beyond the call of duty to protect their countries and their populations.  They brought to the public spheres what most women or mothers would do at home to care for a sick child or family member and used these soft skills, which give them the capability to care for their own children, family and loved ones, and multiplied them to give to and protect their countries and populations.

From time immemorial, women have been more inclined to demonstrate limitless strength that is founded on the values of compassion, humility and strength of character. The high emotional intelligence that women possess, which connects them to the needs, concerns and hopes of their communities, make them adept at leading in crisis. As such, women are naturally good at multitasking, decisiveness, telling hard truths, and adapting to situations. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Angela Merkle of Germany stood up early and calmly telling her countrymen the hard truth, and then acted proactively on that truth, while Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland deployed the formidable power of technology to make her country a key case study in the true spread and fatality rates of Covid-19 by a massive and unrivalled testing and tracking programme as a key agent in battling the coronavirus crisis. Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan decisively managed the situation to put up what CNN called among the world’s best responses while Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand employed uncommon clarity and decisiveness to save her country from the storm. Erna Solberg of Norway simply fell back on the power of love in coming up with the innovative idea of using television to talk directly to her country’s children.  Overall, the empathy and care that female world leaders have communicated to their people reflects an alternative to the male-oriented narrative the world has been more familiar with.

Elsewhere, women CEOs, together with those in management positions and others in the workplace went through massive and unprecedented disruption in work, family and household duties. Overnight, millions of CEOs and other women in the workplace found their daily schedules disrupted.  They had to quickly adapt and multitask, juggling multiple hats all at once, as mother, teacher, nanny, cook, wife, co-worker, boss and comforter-in-chief. They had to quickly up-skill themselves to handle the technology required for remote working, whilst also having to learn to homeschool their children, care for their families and supervise their teams all at once. During this crazy time, women CEOs rose to the occasion to do various duties and home chores while confidently leading their teams into uncharted territory with grace, faith, empathy, compassion and humility, giving love and support to fellow co-workers, as well as their own children and families. With the pandemic and its effects on work-life balance happening overnight, women in the workplace have emerged stronger and proven that they are powerful natural born leaders.

The year 2020 is a year in which women have decisively proved that when it comes to governance and leadership, they do unequivocally hold aces over and above their male counterparts.  During 2020, the world witnessed how women leaders have stepped up their ante in exemplary leadership in the management and control of a despairing global health dilemma. Indeed the year 2020, has wholesomely revealed the power of female leadership, which has shown that women leaders have what it takes when the heat rises, not only in the kitchen, but also in the hallowed corridors of power.

Justina MutaleAbout the Author

Justina Mutale is a speaker and leadership expert. In 2012, she was named African Woman of the Year and she is Founder and President of the Justina Mutale Foundation, through which she advocates for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in political participation and economic empowerment by providing leadership and entrepreneurship training and mentorship. Justina previously worked in the gender section of the Commonwealth Secretariat and has been a consistent delegate, speaker and parallel event convener at global forums that address political, economic, social, African and gender issues, such as a civil society delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) and the African Union High Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.


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