During unprecedented situations like Covid-19, it’s important to take note of key patterns in order to better understand the situation and be able to come up with effective solutions. That said, it seems that one major pattern that the world is witnessing amidst this pandemic is how women heads of states are making much more decisive, progressive decisions that lead to fewer fatalities, and ultimately, bending the curve.
They’re proving one and all that data-driven decisions, quick action, and compassion are essential to flattening the curve. Today, we put the spotlight on four women whose leadership is saving millions of lives.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
New Zealand continues to make headlines as one of the countries who are winning the fight against Covid-19, and experts are saying it’s all thanks to its Prime Minister. Recently, the country announced that it avoided the worst in the pandemic by stopping widespread undetected community transmission—sparking hope in the hearts of global audiences that this virus can be beaten.
Ardern was among the first world leaders to anticipate the threat of coronavirus and quickly implemented a country-wide Level 4 lockdown while urging Kiwis to look after one another. Together with the lockdown, her government also did mass testing and allocated NZ$5.3 to help those who are affected by the virus.
Throughout the entire thing, Ardern never left the public eye. Like a mother, she constantly communicated with her children through non-combative press conferences, Facebook Live broadcasts, which she does from her couch, and delivered empathetic “stay home, save lives” videos. New Zealand reported only 18 COVID-19-related deaths.
Tsai Ing-Wen, President of Taiwan
Taiwan has shown the world that despite its size it is capable of doing great things, especially with someone like Tsai Ing-Wen at its helm. Keeping infections and fatalities at a minimum was the result of their president’s aggressive and quick response to the virus’ threat, which experts are dubbing to be “among the best globally.” She was swift to implement travel restrictions and quarantine as early as the start of January when the rest of the world was only starting to hear about the virus. She then activated the country’s central epidemic command center and rolled out nationwide testing together with strict mass public hygiene measures.
The country completely employed a total of 124 “control and contain” measures in a matter of weeks, which made it possible to avoid a full lockdown. It reported only six deaths and is now even helping other countries fight Covid-19 by sending out millions of face masks, especially to the worst-struck parts of Europe and the U.S.
Katrin Jakobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland
Even before there were any COVID-19-related deaths in the country, Iceland’s Prime Minister has already established the need for contact tracing and large-scale mass testing. Her government implemented nationwide free testing, which showed the world that 50% of the virus’ carriers may be asymptomatic. So far, Iceland has recorded only 10 deaths and has avoided closing down schools thanks to an exhaustive tracing system.
Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark
Choosing not to downplay the coronavirus’ threat, Denmark was among the first European countries to shut its borders due to Covid-19. It also closed down cafes, restaurants, salons, bars, gyms, primary and secondary schools as well as universities and banned the gathering of more than 10 people. Experts say that the swift move to restrict movements saved the Nordic country from the worst of the pandemic. The country has since started easing its lockdown but remains to be vigilant to the virus’ threats.