The year 2020 was about countries grappling with a pandemic. On one hand, coronavirus took the lives of millions on the other hand it allowed people to assess their leaders. Every leader was forced to take immediate measures to save their citizens from dying and from their economies from collapsing. Leaders were evaluated based on their agility, empathy and communicative skills.
By August the countries which had outperformed most of the countries in terms of saving lives included NewZealand, Germany, Taiwan, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Bangladesh. A very conspicuous factor being all countries were led by women leaders.
Jacinda Adern, Angela Merkel, Tsai Ing, Mette Fredriksen, Katrin Jacobsdottir, Sheikh Hasina became examples of leaders altering the standard definition of a leader associated with masculinity.
A study published in the world economic forum and in the Centre for Economic Policy Research by Supriya Garikipati and Uma Kambhampathi establishes that women leaders have handled pandemic better than their male counterparts in the neighbouring states. This was done by prompt actions and going into lockdown much before other countries. The study pointed out that women leaders tend to value human lives more than their economy.
This is merely a speck of light in an extremely grim statistics of women leaders across the world. Out of 194 countries hit by Covid, only 19 countries are led by women leaders.
In India, the statistics can be further categorised as dismal. At present, there is a mere representation of 14 per cent of women politicians in the parliament.
Meanwhile, the lockdown also gave us some data to cogitate about the fundamental structure of our society. Between March and May of the year 2020, the domestic violence complaints were at a 10 year high. This is considering the actual statistics could be more alarming as most of the abuse don’t get reported.
These data are mirrors to the entrenched patriarchy in our society. The society which upbrings the abuser and the abused. The data shows the abuser in most of the cases are men. The irony is the same gender is formulating policies and have the responsibility to implement it. This argument should not be misconstrued as the policymakers who are men happens to be complicit in some way or the other in crime happening against women. The problem is more nuanced and layered.
Alice Evans, a sociologist who studies how women gain power in public life at King’s College London enunciates the behavioural stigma faced by women, she says “There is an expectation that leaders should be aggressive and forward and domineering. But if women demonstrate those traits, then they’re seen as unfeminine,”.
Alice is pointing out one problem amongst the myriad of hurdles a woman has to face if she wants to take part in politics. How do we solve it? Do we sit and wait for changes to occur at its pace?
We at WomXn leaders thought of accelerating the process of change. An initiative to make the 50 per cent of the population’s voice loud and clear. Womxn leaders is a movement to have more representation of women in various tiers of democracy. We attempt to build and enable a community of female leaders of different age and generation, young girls, professional females in the political ecosystem. The idea is to shun the biases in terms of ideologies and parties and just focus on assisting women from various communities to run for office.
We should not require another pandemic to understand the efficiency of our women leaders.
We will be coming up with more articles, ideas and plans. Please keep posted to Womxn Leaders.
Contributed by Veena Nair