The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees and disrupted all aspects of the economy for most countries of the world. In the face of the biggest health crisis that humanity has faced in hundreds of years, leaders, both current and new, have demonstrated excellence in the way they managed the unprecedented crisis in their own capacity. It is pertinent to note how women leaders have played a significant role in handling the crisis and the qualities they have demonstrated which redefine what leadership means while dealing with a challenge or fighting against an unprecedented crisis.
We are all aware that New Zealand has managed to eradicate COVID-19 and lifted all restrictions on public movement and economic activities. Much credit has to be given to the Jacinda Arden – led government, which responded to the pandemic with scientific expertise, planning and empathy – a set of leadership traits that are transferable and implementable by any other country or state head. Another female country head who did an outstanding job at containing the virus is Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan. Her approach has been majorly towards testing, contact tracingand isolation measures to control infections. German Chancellor, Angela Markel, is also widely praised for her calm and responsible approach towards containing the virus in her nation.
Closer home, many Indian female leaders have played a significant role in combating the virus in their own unique ways. One woman who rose to the occasion and how is Minal Dakhave Bhosale from Pune. The Chief of Mylab’s R&D department worked tirelessly to develop India’s first Covid testing kit – Patho Detect.
Her commitment towards the nation can be attributed to the fact that she was heavily pregnant at the time of developing this testing kit and submitted it for evaluation a day before delivering her child. Tina Dabi, an IAS officer and Sub-divisional magistrate of Bhilwara district in Rajasthan, is responsible for the ruthless containment model in her district, days before the lockdown was imposed in the rest of the country. K K Shailaja, the Health Minister of Kerala, has done a phenomenal job in fighting the spread of the virus in her state through aggressive testing and treatment, and training of healthcare workers.
The examples are proof how women leaders and the qualities they exemplify – empathy, resilience, clarity, decisiveness, strong and transparent communication – are necessary for handling crisis like situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic. As we speak about these women leaders who have battled the current health crisis and minimized its impact in the most exemplary way, we must recognize that, globally, only 7% of government leadership roles are led by women. As per McKinsey report, only 21% of C-suite positions in top MNC’s are held by women. Women have to be extraordinary to land such coveted leadership positions and work incredibly hard to make a mark for themselves in their fields. It is time we pay credit to women for the skills, qualities, and talents they bring to the table and increase their representation in every sector.