What is it about?

The coronavirus disease that emerged in 2019 (COVID-19) spotlights the need for effective leadership in a crisis. COVID-19 dramatically affected individuals, organizations, and societies. We used this life-and-death pandemic to examine a question in the literature - whether women are more effective leaders than men in a crisis. We focused on United States governors for they face extraordinary leadership trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. States with women governors had fewer COVID-19 related deaths compared to states with male governors.

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Why is it important?

These findings underscore the need to value different leadership voices and to build a culture of inclusion in which varied voices are heard and valued. It also highlights the importance of leaders displaying empathy and confidence through their communications in a crisis.


Implementing training to unobtrusively change gendered stereotypes at a societal level is easier said than done. Constructive conversations are needed to sift through ways in which pre-conceived views about gender and leadership effectiveness stereotypes can be updated.

Alex Stajkovic
University of Wisconsin Madison

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Women’s leadership is associated with fewer deaths during the COVID-19 crisis: Quantitative and qualitative analyses of United States governors., Journal of Applied Psychology, August 2020, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/apl0000577.
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