Media Bias? Countries Led by Women Haven’t Fared Significantly Better in COVID-19 Pandemic

Countries led by women have not fared significantly better in the COVID-19 pandemic than those led by men — it may be just our Western media bias that makes us think they have!

Differences in cultural traits by women-led and men-led countries along the dimensions examined in the paper. Credit: Windsor et al, 2020 (PLOS ONE, CC BY 4.0)

In this paper the authors explore whether countries led by women have fared better during the COVID-19 pandemic than those led by men.

Media and public health officials have lauded the perceived gender-related influence on policies and strategies for reducing the deleterious effects of the pandemic. The authors examine this proposition by analyzing COVID-19-related deaths globally across countries led by men and women.

While some limited support was found for lower reported fatality rates in countries led by women, they are not statistically significant. Country cultural values offer more substantive explanation for COVID-19 outcomes.

The authors offer several potential explanations for the pervasive perception that countries led by women have fared better during the pandemic, including data selection bias and Western media bias that amplified the successes of women leaders in OECD countries.

Reference: “Gender in the time of COVID-19: Evaluating national leadership and COVID-19 fatalities” by Leah C. Windsor, Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, Alistair J. Windsor, Robert Ostergard, Susan Allen, Courtney Burns, Jarod Giger and Reed Wood, 31 December 2020, PLOS.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244531

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  • Genevieve

    The whole topic of gender playing a part in nations’ Covid-19 success reeks of red herring. Covid doesn’t care who leads a nation or what their genitals look like.
    Countries fare better where healthcare services are seen as an essential human right instead of a privilege…which is just about everywhere other than the United States.


    … contribution to post truth era, one needs to stay afloat, I guess…