Let’s Embrace Our Gender Differences

In April, 2020 Forbes.com ran an article by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox appreciating women leaders who have successfully steered their countries through the COVID crisis as most other countries are still grappling with it.

I read a lot of discussion around it where many (mostly women) are hailing the gender of these leaders as the reason for their success. Their voices are vociferously being matched by people (mostly men) arguing that gender has no role to play.

What I fail to understand is that why is it a gender issue? What makes it a Man vs Woman thing? Why is defending our incompetence of utmost priority as against fighting a crisis?

As a nation I believe we waste too much energy on covering up our mistakes. Instead of introspecting what we could have done right, we tend to use our population, our lack of resources and that third-world-country tag, as crutches to justify our ineptitude. I can go on but I would rather talk about what I took from this piece.

All these leaders chose to respond early and what’s striking is that their first response was not a knee jerk reaction but based on deliberations, facts and far sightedness. (I am purposely avoiding the suffix women as I feel it distracts us from the point that I want to make. I shall come to that later.)

None of them wasted time in denial or flogging dead horses. Their clear-headed decision making is what saw them through these times.

I was especially impressed to read that social media influencers were invited to ‘spread fact-based information on managing the pandemic’. Don’t even get me started on how social media is abused and misused in our country.

There is no way one can miss words like humane, empathy and emotional intelligence. Could it be that they are the ingredients of their secret sauce? How would we know unless we tried?

In conclusion, here’s my humble opinion. This article (and there are many more) should be used as evidence that women in leadership roles can do wonders. In haste do not jump up in arms. This doesn’t mean that men can’t.

Men and women are different and they bring their inherent qualities on the table. About time that we debunk some myths and stop making fun of women’s emotions and their hormones. For far too long, women have been made to feel ashamed of them. What women need to remember and men need to know is that these traits do not make women weaker. In fact, they make women stronger and often successful.

We have ignored our female workforce long enough. If we want our country to move ahead, let’s embrace our differences rather than ridiculing them. That is by far our only hope.

Dr. Shivani Salil


One comment

  • H.C.Verma

    If a woman can be a leader at home,she can very well be a leader in such trying time as Covid. The Forbes article just proves this.(It does not mean male leaders cannot do that)
    What makes the difference is that understanding human behavior and psychology and having a considerate attitude are more important than just the gender difference.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *