Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face: Women Leaders Are Flattening the Curve

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 27.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 27. Mark Mitchell/Getty Images

On this week’s episode: New Zealand and other countries led by women have done better than most at responding to the pandemic.

When we talk about countries that have best responded to the coronavirus pandemic, we often mention Iceland, Finland, Taiwan, and New Zealand—all of which happen to be run by women. Are female leaders better poised to respond to the coronavirus pandemic? Or does this tell us more about the kinds of countries that tend to elect female leaders?

On today’s episode, Don’t Touch Your Face hosts Amy Mackinnon and James Palmer take a look at New Zealand, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been credited with not just flattening the curve, but crushing it all together. They are joined by Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist based in New Zealand, as well as Betsy Fischer Martin, the executive director of American University’s Women and Politics Institute.

Further Reading.

New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve. It’s squashing it. Washington Post

The Countries That Are Succeeding at Flattening the Curve, Foreign Policy

Women’s Power Index, Council on Foreign Relations

About Don’t Touch Your Face:  On the last day of 2019, China reported an unusual outbreak in Wuhan, a port city with a population of 11 million. Within two months, the disease would spread to almost every continent on the globe and kill thousands of people. From Foreign Policy, a podcast about the extent of the COVID-19 contagion, the threat it poses, and what countries are doing to contain it. Join FP’s James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon as they track the spread of the virus and explore what it means for people’s everyday lives. Have a coronavirus question for us to explore? Email it to  See All Episodes

More Don’t Touch Your Face episodes:

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On our final episode (for now), we examine an older public health crisis and the lessons it offers.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Dating During Covid-19

On this week’s episode: How the pandemic is changing the way we meet people.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Pandemic Within a Pandemic

On this week’s episode: How the world may see more protests as lockdowns lift.

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