On January 14, 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that his daughter, the current mayor of Davao, has no plans to run for president in the 2022 elections, saying in a speech: "My daughter, inuudyok naman nila, sabi ko, my daughter is not running. I told Inday not to run kasi naawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko. Hindi ito pambabae...The emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. Maging g*go ka dito. That's the sad story." This is not the first time the president has implied that women are somehow inferior—his late-night speeches and annual State Of The Nation Addresses are proof of that.
In September 2020, Council on Foreign Relations' Women's Power Index revealed that 21 out of 193 countries have women as heads of their state or government. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide, it became apparent that when it comes to their respective countries' pandemic response, it seems like female world leaders are doing much better and have lower COVID-19 cases compared to their male counterparts! An analysis by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum, as reported by The Guardian, suggests that "the difference is real and may be explained by the 'proactive and coordinated policy responses' adopted by female leaders."
So...here are just a few amazing women who have led their country's COVID-19 response and recovery—proof that women can (and SHOULD be) presidents, prime ministers, and world leaders:
President Tsai Ing-wen (Taiwan)
As of this writing, Taiwan has only recorded 842 COVID-19 cases in total. As early as January 2020, while other countries were still debating on whether to impose travel bans or not, Taiwan took action and introduced more than a hundred measures to block the spread of the virus without resorting to lockdowns. In April 2020, President Tsai Ing-wen announced that they would contribute to the "global fight against COVID-19" by donating 10 million face masks and sharing their technology with countries in need. While many countries basically shut down in 2020, Taiwan was holding music festivals and Pride parades. Last year, Tsai Ing-wen was also part of TIME's list of 100 Most Influential people.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand)
She became the world's youngest female head of government in 2017 at the age of 37! In June 2020, New Zealand was COVID-free and all restrictions were lifted. BBC reports that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern even told the press that she did "a little dance" when she heard the good news. The country recorded new cases of the virus in August, but by October 2020, New Zealand was once again COVID-free due to "early and swift lockdowns, testing, and clear communication from its leaders." According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has recorded 2,246 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths.
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir (Iceland)
Katrín Jakobsdóttir is the nation's second female leader and she even went viral in 2020 when she had a calm and composed "Well, this is Iceland" response to a strong earthquake that occurred during a live interview. In October 2020, she told Washington Post that Iceland has a very strong public health system (everyone has equal access), that they've been doing "excessive testing," and they've been working closely with scientists. In 2020, Iceland offered free coronavirus testing for ALL its citizens. According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has only recorded 5,948 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Norway)
In a 2020 press conference that was held specifically for children, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told them that it was "okay" to feel scared because of the pandemic. Even though Norway was one of the heavily-hit COVID-19 countries in March 2020, five months later, the country had one of the lowest fatalities in Europe and Norway was welcoming tourists back to the country! As of January 2021, more than 20,000 Norwegians have already been vaccinated.