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Type: Journal article
Title: Gender and political leadership in a time of COVID
Author: Johnson, C.
Williams, B.
Citation: Politics and Gender, 2020; 16(4):943-950
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 1743-923X
Statement of
Carol Johnson, Blair Williams
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the division between the private sphere of the home and public sphere of politics that has traditionally disadvantaged women political leaders. Whereas male political leaders drew on their traditional role as the male head of household to display forms of masculine protectionism towards citizens, women leaders have now been able to draw on their traditional motherly role, for example as the member of the household who traditionally compassionately cares for the sick, to display forms of feminine protectionism. As a result, various women leaders internationally 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 also been displayed in much media coverage, providing a more favourable coverage of female political leaders than has often previously been the case.
Keywords: COVID-19; political leadership; gender; media; politics of emotion; coronavirus; masculinity, femininity; Donald Trump; Jacinda Ardern
Rights: © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
RMID: 1000024252
DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X2000029X
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