These Countries Have Flattened the Coronavirus Curve — And They Are All Led by Women
·7-min read

As the Coronavirus pandemic grips the globe, social media has been abuzz with one important pointer: Women are significantly better at handling a crisis better.

Several posts on social media went viral showing that there's a common factor that connects the countries that are flattening the curve: they are all led by women.

Images of these women leaders at the forefront of the battle against the deadly disease went viral across social media platforms.

These are leaders leading there country and have the best coronavirus response.

Oh! They’re also all women.

— Johnathan Ford (@FordJohnathan5) April 10, 2020

There is something about women leadership that we need to name and appreciate. They seem to handle crises better. Some studies suggest that women leaders tend to have compassion and society at heart. Looking at #COVID19 responce experiences across the world, it makes some sense!

— Togolani Mavura (@tonytogolani) April 9, 2020

These are leaders leading there country and have the best coronavirus response.

Oh! They’re also all women.

— Johnathan Ford (@FordJohnathan5) April 10, 2020

There might be some truth to the viral image. Here's what the data says.

New Zealand, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has seen the number of cases dropping in the country. A Washington Post headline explains how "New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve. It’s squashing it."

The number of new cases has fallen for two consecutive days, despite a huge increase in testing, with 54 confirmed or probable cases reported Tuesday. That means the number of people who have recovered, 65, exceeds the number of daily infection.

Ardern's policies relied heavily on one statement she made: "Act like you have coronavirus."

She told her citizens, "Every move you then make is a risk to someone else. That is how we must all collectively think. That’s why the joy of physically visiting other family, children, grandchildren, friends, neighbours is on hold."

New Zealand had fewer infections than many other countries on March 25 when the lock down was imposed, but Ardern's government wanted to move fast to halt the spread. It was one of the first countries to force all arriving travellers into self-isolation and to ban large gatherings.

Germany too, headed by Angela Merkel, is beating the curve. With a total number of 118,235 cases, Germany has recorded 52,407 recoveries. Out of the closed cases (recoveries plus deaths) Germany's ratio stands at 95% recoveries.

Merkel had urged people to social-distance as early as March 11, quoting statistics about the worse case scenario and showing the reality of the disease to people.

Two in three Germans may become infected, Merkel said at a news conference that reverberated far beyond her country.

Germany is testing approximately 500,000 people per week, far more than other European countries, while boosting its supply of ICU beds and ventilators. Government guidance on social distancing has been widely followed.

The government also worked efficiently to pass a 1.1 trillion euro spending package last month to stabilize the economy. Liquidity for big companies and direct assistance to freelancers flowed fast without much red tape.

A New York Times article also mentioned how the Merkel adressing the press "was a reminder of the woman who for much of the past 14 years has been the rock in European politics. She is the leader who reassured savings account holders during the financial crisis; who held the euro area together in the sovereign debt crisis; and who was celebrated, at least in many quarters, as the defender of liberal values after her decision to welcome over 1 million migrants in 2015."

For Belgium, headed by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, while the number of cases hasn't slowed down yet, their death rate has dropped to 50% (from 400-odd to 200-odd) and currently has a 67% recovery rate in closed cases.

Wilmes, too enforced a nation-wide lockdown as the death toll reached 10. But the most important part about her emergency situation announcement was the clarification.

"Citizens are asked to stay at home in order to avoid most contacts, except for going to the doctor, to shop for food, the post office, a bank, pharmacy, petrol station or to help someone in need," she said. She also issued a warning, "Businesses could be fined if they break the new rules, and foreign travel that is not "indispensable" is banned until at least April 5."

Similarly, Finland, headed by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, has seen the daily death rate drop since April 6. Of its 300-closed cases, it has a 88% recovery rate.

Finland’s government on Thursday confirmed it was extending by a month most of the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The extension until May 13 had been expected after a previous statement at the end of March that the government would extend its ban on public meetings of more than 10 people and the closure of public services such as schools for most students.

In Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir's efforts have seen a 99% recovery rate(688 recoveries in 694 closed cases), as well as seeing a drop in number of daily cases since April 2.

Iceland, however, other than measures in place also focused on the economy. Iceland introduced emergency measures worth 8% of gross domestic product to counter the impact of the coronavirus.

The 230 billion krona ($1.6 billion) package includes state guarantees on bridge loans to businesses and the payment of as much as 75% of people’s lost salaries over the next 2 1/2 months, reports Bloomberg.

Denmark's recorded number of new cases can also be seen dropping from April 6, (from 390 to 233 on April 9.) Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, has even announced plans to reopen day care centres and schools on April 15 as a first step to gradually relax a three-week lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Denmark's response to the pandemic was hailed worldwide as a leading example, especially its economic measures.

The social democratic welfare state ordered the closure of public institutions and shut its borders relatively early on. It was one of the first countries which offered to pay 75 percent of private companies' employee salaries to avoid mass layoffs.

However, it might be wrong to say it is only countries led by women which are flattening the curve. South Korea and Japan which have shown signs of flattening the curve are both led by men.

That being said, it might be time to re-evaluate the "women are too emotional to be in important political positions."

In fact, we should have done away with this stereotype a long, long time ago. A 2019 study from Harvard Review even found that women outscored men on 17 of the 19 capabilities that differentiate excellent leaders from average or poor ones. Yet, women account for fewer than 7% of the world’s leaders and only 24% of politicians.

The coronavirus crisis might perhaps finally change how society views women in leadership roles.

Hillary Clinton may have lost against U.S President Donald Trump in the last presidential elections, but a line from her campaign speech "The future is female," made global headlines, and even though the actual slogan dates back over 40 years, it is time to accept it.