In a recent interview with Abigail Post, Assistant Professor of National Security and Political Science at Anderson University in the US, Post commented “women are often just better leaders”.
The Guardian took it one step further, adding “female leaders are the secret weapon in the fight against coronavirus”.
One of those female leaders the Guardian referred to was NZ’s own Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. The just turned 40-year-old, mother of two-year old Neve and the second woman in history to give birth while in power, has had an eventful three years in the prime ministerial hot seat, dealing not only with the Christchurch mosque shootings and the Whakaari/White Island eruption but also the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
No matter which side of the political spectrum you sit on, you have to hand it to Jacinda – her tenure has been marked by strong, decisive leadership. It’s a leadership that’s different to so many we’ve seen around the world, one that puts kindness at the top of the agenda.
“Kindness, and not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy,” Jacinda has said about what’s at the heart of her leadership style. “I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most.”
Ardern’s leadership style is also marked by quietly achieving, by getting things done.
“To me, leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room, but instead being the bridge, or the thing that is missing in the discussion and trying to build a consensus from there.”
Prime Minister, mother, progressive, feminist – call her what you like. We call her one of the leaders we love.