Pandemic, Politics & the mainstream Women Leadership
Pandemic, Politics & the mainstream Women Leadership

Pandemic, Politics & the mainstream Women Leadership


The advent of novel coronavirus/covid-19 can be identified as the most lethal and alarming development of the year 2020. As the entire globe continues to battle biological warfare, the number of people getting infected still goes on the soar, while the death toll persists to rise. Hitherto the unprecedented times have exposed us to many unprecedented situations in particular and have also compelled us to perform many unprecedented actions, activities in general. Governments and political leaders across the world have shown a varied deal of responses/attitudes towards the covid-19 crisis, thereby either efficiently handling or grossly manhandling the same.

According to several credible reports published by international organizations like Center for Economic policy research, World Economic Forum, and Forbes, the countries that have best battled the novel coronavirus pandemic include – New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Finland, Germany, Iceland Denmark, Vietnam, Singapore, and Senegal. Eight out of the ten aforementioned nations share one characteristic in common i.e. the presence of agile women leaders on the political foregrounds. The apt manifestation that can be broadcasted in this respect is that the women leaders across the boundaries went on to keenly demarcate the fault lines of the crisis at the earliest and then figuratively went on to address the concerns about the same.

The strategic breakthroughs that made a difference

The robust and strategically planned measures adopted by the female leadership have been unlike that of the ‘male’ leadership so far. Their literal approach could be best summed up in 3C’s. which imply:

  1. Communication
  2. Compassion
  3. Clarity

When a comparative analysis is conducted under these 3 primary C’s, we encounter the fact that whilst extreme right-wing nations led by male leaders, were preoccupied in presenting preachy soliloquies and spreading conspicuous misinformation the female leaders throughout were truly acting in a much decisive and foresighted manner taking into account the fact that they belonged ‘with’ the common people. Initiatives like the imposition of stricter preemptive lockdowns, stringent travel bans via all means, early testing at a rampant scale, etc., too acted proactively to plummet the number of deaths and suffering half as many deaths on an average as compared to those nations led by men.

What has the corona crisis taught the world regarding women leadership?

Further on, these troubled times of the pandemic haven’t seemingly damaged the system but they have out and open revealed the cracks and crevices of the system filled with immense structural damages in which the whole of humanity has been unknowingly living in, for a bit. The current world order is undergoing a range of modifications, as there is no presence of a sole hegemonic power (like that of The USA) on the forefront to exercise its will, there isn’t the bi-factional USA, USSR  clout either that would hold the issues of world importance at their disposition. Rather this is an epoch of Multiculturalism complimenting inclusive and holistic growth, co-operation that catalyzes meaningful partnerships and promotes the greater good. This era of multiculturalism also can (or say has been since a bit) acting as a conducive niche for more women to enter and reclaim the spheres of mainstream politics often consisting of hard portfolios. The role of women gaining momentum in these testing times has delivered really rewarding results. And hence I resonate with the fact that more and more mainstream participation of women in politics should be encouraged.

Examining women leadership in the Indian Context

India, clearly acts as a missing piece of the puzzle in the context of female leadership, as the picture of women indulging in politics, distinctly, is not very pleasing. Female leaders are used more often than not for the pursuits of tokenism and symbolism, which finely ensures both an easy manipulation of decision making and a secure vote bank for the male leadership in party politics. Even Indira Gandhi too was brought in as the first female prime minister because the then senior Congress leaders had vested interests and they wanted to manipulate the decision making of national importance, favouring their personal needs. But once Indira Gandhi assumed the helm of power she turned the tables on them. However, the concern today is not favouring any particular side of leadership, because ‘leadership stands beyond the binaries of masculinity and femininity’. It promises the presence of a balance between rationality and emotionality. Quite evidently and undeniably countries led by women in the time of crisis (such as this) have fared fairly well. But the latent fact is that these countries didn’t fare well just because they had a female leader on the ground, but it was because an engaging and healthy co-operation was provided by the men, who formed a part of the same leadership forte. So, it becomes unmistakable that the foremost, key way to ensure empowerment and emancipation of womankind in the field of leadership is to make sure a presence of a conducive environment layered by trust, co-operation, and equal engagement offered by the menfolk.

Instruments and prospects of women leadership to sustain the future

Melinda Gates said and I quote: “If you want to lift humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high leverage investment you can make as human beings”. This holds in both letter and spirit because empowering women equates to empowering humanity. And I believe the most strapping way to do so is to ensure that women spearhead visibly and literally from the foregrounds in the forte of leadership. Some specific ways to improve the status quo of women in leadership incorporate education, dismantling of structural stereotypes, defying of odds and ordeals, and greater reclamation of public spheres by women.

Hoping towards an empowered and tangible tomorrow. The best way forward is to harbor more and more women in the core and convention of political leadership.

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About Sanjana Prithyani

Sanjana Prithyani is an aspiring changemaker pursuing Bachelor of Arts at Banaras Hindu University. She is outspoken and passionately curious about Gender studies, International Relations, Geopolitics and Ancient Indian History.

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