Gender and political leadership in a time of COVID

Carol Johnson, Blair Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the division between the private sphere of the home and the public sphere of politics that has traditionally disadvantaged women political leaders. Whereas male political leaders historically drew on their traditional role as the male head of household to display forms of masculine protectionism toward citizens, women leaders are now able to draw on their traditional motherly role-for example, as the member of the household who traditionally cares for the sick-to display forms of feminine protectionism. As a result, international women leaders have managed to leverage women's role in the home to their advantage in the political sphere. Significantly, an appreciation of traditionally feminine attributes in women political leaders has been displayed in much media coverage, providing more favorable coverage of female political leaders than was previously the case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalPolitics & Gender
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Donald Trump
  • femininity
  • gender
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • masculinity
  • media
  • political leadership
  • politics of emotion

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