April 22, 2020 infosol

Undercurrent 11: The Undeniable Important Role of Women in Crises

19 Undercurrents with Ramifications That Go Beyond Twenty20

  • Back in May 2019 WHO announced that 2020 will be The Year of the Nurses & Midwives
  • What a timing, how relevant & how can anyone argue that this is the year of the nurses?
  • Let’s hope that WHO will name 2021 as The Corona-Free Year and to get that one right too!
  • Reproduction Number of COVID-19 virus or R is a key figure in how soon we can go back to normal
  • Reproduction number and rate of failed policies is another pandemic that we ignore at our own peril
  • Historically from the days of Florence Nightingale nursing has been a role dominated by women
  • The two governments that were outliers in best managing these crises: Germany & New Zealand
  • Interestingly enough both are lead by two female leaders: Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern

 Keep an Eye On

 The next 12 to 24 months expect a massive rise in litigations, class action lawsuits. Many healthcare professional bodies around the world will take their own governments into the courts. Some of these cases will be led and championed by women and nurses around the world. As a result litigation lawyers will be one of the very few busy industries in a post COVID-19 world.

Nurses make the ultimate sacrifice by risking their own lives in face of chronic shortage of PPE and other essential tools and necessities. Clapping may be heart warming and nice, but should we clap for someone who is entering a minefield without a body armour, protection or mine detector? Post crises societies around the world should have a comprehensive and candid dialogue on what services they cherish more, and what sort of an emotional (respect), financial (tax allocations) they expect to deploy for these services. In other words, when the next “austerity” wave arrives, and will arrive, people should shield and act as the armour to protect their essential services. The way the nurses protected all of us.

Yesterday for the 1st time in the history the oil prices in United States were trading at negative rates at USD -14 per barrel, and the interest rates in many countries continue to be zero or below zero. We are living in very different era, when metrics and commodities we thought were priceless are losing their values and many core and human qualities are becoming ever more precious. Perhaps with so much change, one cannot help but to think that that why our politics remain a zero sum game?

Back to women and female leaders for a moment. One can’t disagree that the agility and clarity with which Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel have showcased in these crises did once again highlight their ultra pragmatic, effective, empathetic, present and impactful leadership style.

In an era of hyper connectivity, in the 21st century where our social norms are changing by the hour, when our ballot registration forms have 3 or 4 more extra choices for gender beyond male and female, when we are searching for minerals on Moon and Mars, why should we have to live with an old and arcade political model?

To start with in Commonwealth, there should be a more fluid and playful form of governance in which the top performers in positions of leadership could rotate around nations. Why not having Jacinda Ardern in No. 10 for a try? H.M is the head of Commonwealth anyway, and though one may call it fantasy thinking but the way the world runs must and will change, whether we want it or not. Why not some pan-Commonwealth Meritocracy and cross-pollination of leadership talent?

As the “Lady with The Lamp” drew one of the earliest info-graphics on the importance of hospital sanitation and wisely mentioned ”affect through the Eyes what we may fail to convey to the brains of the public through their word-proof ears”. We all must see differently & ask why not in the years ahead?

Ali Borhani is the Managing Director of 3Sixty Strategic Advisors Ltd. It is the readers’ responsibility to verify their own
facts. The views and opinions expressed in this article/commentary are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other individual, agency, organization, employer or company.