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Want a well-run pandemic response? Put a woman in charge

As Boris Johnson’s Britain notches up 100,000 deaths, the statistics for female-run countries are incomparably better. But is the connection as simple as it looks?

By Anne Perkins  

Photo: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

If it’s possible for a plague to have a pin up, then Jacinda Ardern is it. She is the female prime minister whose quick and decisive actions have succeeded in holding Covid-19 deaths in New Zealand down to just 25 in a population of around five million. On any metric, Ardern has one of the best records in the world for containing the deadly virus. Is it the Jacinda effect? Or are women leaders better at battling the disease?

Ardern, now in her second term, had already established a record for meeting terrible national adversity with grace and…

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