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Hillary Clinton: Why women-led nations have better coronavirus results

  • During a virtual summit organized by the humanitarian organization CARE, Hillary Clinton said there’s “a correlation” between women-led countries and positive responses to the coronavirus. 
  • She also criticized President Trump’s attempt to sever ties with the World Health Organization. 
  • Countries with women leaders, including New Zealand and Germany, have fared relatively well in the fight against the coronavirus. Many say it’s not a coincidence. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s no coincidence that countries with women leaders have generally fared better in the fight against the novel coronavirus, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested during a virtual summit June 9. 

“There is a correlation between countries with women leaders and very positive responses to COVID-19. Women have been demonstrating the kind of inclusive, empathetic, science-based leadership that we should be trying to promote across the world,” she said. 

The summit, organized by CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, featured the former Secretary of State along with politician Stacey Abrams, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Cory Booker and others who discussed the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on women and girls and the movement to defeat systemic racial injustice.

Clinton emphasized that, in order to defeat the pandemic, “women have to be at the table,” including everyday citizens who protect their families and communities, healthcare workers, and national and international leaders. 

“Women’s voices and experiences have to be heard and respected if we’re going to be able to deal not just with the pandemic today, but with the future of the pandemic because unfortunately it’s going to be around for quite some time,” she said. 

Clinton also criticized President Trump’s attempt at severing the US’s ties with the World Health Organization, saying he doesn’t actually have the sole power to do that, but even the thought is mind-boggling. 

“To think that we would be retreating from that leadership and from the only international organization that is tasked with trying to keep us healthy and to respond to epidemics when we know that in many parts of the world COVID-19 is just arriving” is inexplicable, she said. 

The virus, she added, “is just beginning its ravaging of populations, and there is no way that we can have a global response that helps people across the world, but also, let’s be honest, that helps us here at home, without the United States providing leadership and financial resources.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield arrive for their Covid-19 media conference in Wellington on April 27.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield arrive for their Covid-19 media conference in Wellington on April 27.

Mark Mitchell / Pool / AFP / Getty


Female leaders have been praised for the coronavirus responses 

Female leaders including New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, Iceland’s Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and Norway’s Erna Solberg have been linked to relatively positive coronavirus outcomes

Health officials in New Zealand, for one, said June 8 the last known infected person had recovered and the disease is, for now, eradicated there. 

While the country benefited from a relatively low population density and a highly compliant society, one of its weapons also appeared to be its Prime Minister, Ardern, who initiated early lockdown efforts, widespread testing and contact tracing, and is respected. 

“New Zealand shows the benefit of having quite high levels of scientific expert input into the policymaking process and a Prime Minister who is a very good communicator who the public trust,” Nick Wilson, a professor and public health expert at the University of Otago in New Zealand, previously told Business Insider

Arden, who held empathetic Facebook Live addresses, also took a 20% pay cut, along with other top government officials. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a news conference after coalition meetings over stimulus measures to reboot post-coronavirus economy, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 3, 2020. John Macdougall/Pool via REUTERS

Angela Merkel speaks at a news conference after coalition meetings over stimulus measures in Berlin.

Reuters


In Germany, meanwhile, authorities announced that the pandemic was under control April 17, less than six weeks after the country recorded its first deaths from the disease. 

The physicist Merkel has been credited for the implementation of a six-week shutdown, an efficient “track and trace” system, and her straightforward communication about why following guidelines was necessary to save lives. 

“She is not a great orator, but this calm message to the nation contributed to the confidence of the people: 80% to 90% felt she can do it,” Wolfgang Merkel, an unrelated professor of political science at Berlin’s Humboldt University, told CNN. “When people are deeply insecure about the future, they seek protection and more certainty from the government.”

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