New Zealand’s Political Debates Show What Changes When Two Women Lead

“New Zealand’s recent election, which ended up with an electoral landslide for the incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says something about women in leadership roles. With the leaders of New Zealand’s two biggest parties being women, the dynamics in New Zealand is a lesson for the US and other countries that still have to elect a woman in the top job,” Canadian journalist Stéphanie Fillion writes in a story for Forbes.

“The most recent elections also show how women choose to portray different styles of leadership when vying for the top job in their respective countries – and how embracing some gender stereotypes, such as empathy for women, can have positive results,” Fillion writes.

“Even though the format of the debates were similar to the US, for professor in public policy at the University of Auckland Jennifer Curtin, that’s pretty much where the comparison ends: ‘What was different in [New Zealand] compared to the US was that both our major party leaders promised in advance that they would not get personal. We still saw a lot of interjecting, and talking over top of each other, but no name-calling.’

Suze Wilson, lecturer on leadership at Massey University said: “‘With it being two women leaders, I think the issue of who was more assertive, confident or resilient under pressure was less of an issue than it would have been if it had been a woman leader contesting a male leader,’ she says, ‘Instead it was very clear that both women are confident, assertive and resilient under pressure.’”

Original article by Stéphanie Fillion, Forbes, October 21, 2020.


Tags: 2020 General Election  Forbes  Jacinda Ardern  Jennifer Curtin  Judith Collins  Suze Wilson