During Covid-19, we have witnessed our global female leaders foster social cohesion through a delicate balance of decisiveness and empathy. Without either chest thumping or sanctimony, female heads-of-state have produced superlative results through distributed leadership and emotional intelligence.
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg deferred medical decisions to the scientists and took the unusual step of directly addressing the country’s children, telling them in two press conferences that it was “permitted to be a little bit scared.”
Armed with a doctorate in quantum chemistry, Germany’s Angela Merkel kept her country’s fatality toll under 5,000 through calm, clear public exposition and an unparalleled marshaling of the health care system.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s premier, went hard on early quarantining, while also delivering empathetic “stay home, save lives” videos from her couch. She embraced a kindness-first approach urging New Zealanders to look after their neighbors, take care of the vulnerable, and make sacrifices for the greater good.
Notably, Ardern gave birth to her first child last year in Auckland’s public hospital while serving as Prime Minister, becoming the first world leader to take maternity leave while in office. Only 18 people have died of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
Women make great leaders for the same reason they make great parents; they flourish in the grey zone between question and answer, mystery and manifestation. And this is what makes our mothers – the great ones, the difficult ones, the complicated ones, the devoted ones – endlessly fascinating to us.
Our entire life is a journey back to our mothers, back to the peaceful belonging of the womb, back to the oneness; a re-matriation with the divine, the reunion of Jesus and Mary. As T.S. Eliot wrote, “to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
We pause today to honor all mothers, including our Mother Earth. And to pray this fraught time can serve as a modern Annunciation, that a new savior will be born within the divine mother of each of us, one that inspires us to craft beauty from chaos.
Jeff Krasnos, co-founder and CEO, Commune