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Women in Charge: Success Against the Coronavirus

Credit…Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Credit…Pool photo by Bernd Von Jutrczenka

To the Editor:

Re “Why Are Nations Led by Women Doing Better?,” by Amanda Taub (The Interpreter, May 16):

I am glad to see female heads of state getting well-deserved attention for their remarkably successful leadership during the pandemic, but I was disappointed that the women’s leadership was characterized as “cautious” and “risk averse” in contrast to more aggressive and forward leadership attributed to males. You have it backward.

When others took a cautious wait-and-see stance, women took swift, decisive action to fight the pandemic. They led their countries to “go hard, go early,” in the powerful phrasing of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.

They established aggressive national testing and tracing programs. They communicated forcefully and clearly. And they did all of this at great political risk. Imagine how they would have been pilloried if these costly interventions had been no more successful than the laissez-faire approach of some of their male counterparts.

We must stop stereotyping women’s leadership as passive and tentative. In this instance, it was men like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro whose leadership was passive, weak or absent.

Monique VanLandingham
Somerset, Va.

To the Editor:

Amanda Taub’s article exploring the reasons female leaders are getting better results with the coronavirus pandemic reminded me of what my husband learned when he took his first avalanche safety class: You’re much less likely to die in the backcountry if there’s a woman in your group.

Whether it’s biological (testosterone triggers poorly thought-out decisions that result in death) or social conditioning (men have competitive hubris, women are more comfortable asserting safety concerns), the statistics prove it.

As pointed out in “Calamity Lesson,” a Jan. 5 article about avalanche fatalities in The New York Times Magazine, “All-female groups … make better decisions in risky situations than all-male groups or mixed-gender groups.”

Given this, and now that we’ve all seen with our own eyes how testosterone doesn’t preclude irrational mood swings and emotional outbursts, I think our country is readier than ever for the steady hand of a reasoned, experienced and capable female vice president. Bring her on. Please.

Madeleine Berenson
Avon, Colo.
The writer is a ski instructor.

To the Editor:

Amanda Taub’s article about the success of women-led countries dealing with Covid-19 leaves out one important factor. The fact that a country elects a woman as its leader speaks to the sensibilities of its people. Draw your own conclusions.

Brian M. Malarkey
Houston

Source: NY times

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