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Study Shows People Living in Countries Led by Women Have Been Way Safer During COVID

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a podium, placing her hand on her chin

A recent study from the University of Queensland in Australia sorted through data from 91 countries and came to the conclusion that countries led by women saw about 40% fewer deaths during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic than those led by men.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, female leaders have generally acted more quickly and decisively and have demonstrated greater risk aversion toward losses of human life,” the report reads. “In addition, they have consistently taken a broader view to consider the wider impact of coronavirus on society and have been more open to innovative thinking, thereby managing the COVID-19 crisis better than their male counterparts.”

The Daily Beast‘s Barbie Latza Nadeau writes:

Using the example of male-led Australia and female-led New Zealand, Tan noted that Australia’s per capita death rate was shockingly high. “As of 31 December 2020, although the population of Australia was only five times that of NZ, Australia had reported around 13 times more infections and 36 times the number of deaths than the numbers reported by New Zealand,” he wrote.

[…] The study stops around the time vaccines were introduced, at the end of 2020, but showcases the importance of coherent and trustworthy leadership. “It is unrealistic to expect all countries to choose female leaders,” the study concludes. “However, perhaps male leaders could learn from their female counterparts and pay more attention to issues that matter to the health of the broader population and society. Trust in government, law, and order, which take a long time to develop, build a country’s resilience and have proved instrumental during both peace and crises.”

The study looked at a number of various determinants and found that “factors seemingly unrelated to healthcare (e.g., female leadership) can play essential roles in pandemic prevention, thereby shaping pandemic control outcomes.” Taking into account that correlation does not equal causation, the researchers say their “findings shed light on public policies that help develop preventive resources so that countries can better prepare for future health crises.”

It’s good to know that one of those “preventative resources” is to elect as many women as possible.

(via The Daily Beast, image: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, by Robert Kitchin – Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.