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Want global security? Put more women in charge

Want global security? Put more women in charge

While children and partners celebrated Mother's Day with... mothers, Donald Trump celebrated with possibly his most far de-ranging tweet storm yet & not one thanked his wife

Meanwhile, Mother's Day 2020 in Australia will be remembered for the relaxation of COVID-19 home visit numbers and non essential services relaxations in most states. We are all feeling grateful to wives and mothers more than ever - even if they are secretly just a bit over all of us hanging around the house.

Mothers are the centre of most households. The teachers, the nurturers, the peacemakers, the masters of household minutiae. And it turns out that this is also true for the world. It is actually well evidenced that women are way more effective than men with peace and security.

Every leader on the planet is on show right now and there is nothing quite like a pandemic to put your leadership style and skills up front and centre as one tiny virus exposes the many big cracks a nation's health systems, economies - and basic humanity. Books are already being written about individuals so we won't labour our favourite train wreck, but there is a broader point of leadership worth noting. One of the big standout COVID-19 leadership differences is the style of women leaders. As The Guardian reports,


It turns out that there is plenty of evidence to support a prediction that women leaders would do well in a pandemic. The problem is that there simply isn't enough of them to create balance.

Nearly 20 years ago, the UN Security Council adopted 'Resolution 1325', for the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. It was the first time that the contribution women make to conflict resolution and sustainable peace was acknowledged and measured.

A recent video (1) on progress against Resolution 1325 reported that where women are meaningfully involved in peacekeeping efforts, they are 65% more likely to succeed. Humanitarian assistance after disasters is more effective and peace agreements more likely to last longer where women are involved.

And yet, despite all the proof of the likelihood of far better outcomes, disaster management and peace keeping efforts are 98.5 percent run by men. Only 1.5 percent of peace agreements involve women. Coupled with the fact that only 7 percent of world leaders are women, many of us are wishing there was just a tad more representation right now on the world stage.

Not only would the position some countries find themselves in be quite different, but there would most likely be more balance on the world stage. 


In the COVID-19 crisis, the decisions made by each country leader are effectively signing up or away the lives of citizens. Economically as well as health wise. And the prize for flattening the curve is a whole other set of challenges - the way out.

While survival was the first obstacle, the way out is proving to be even trickier - and most certainly the place for collaborative not combative actors. A lot has been reported on Jacinda Ardern's collegience and strong line through the crisis to stamping out COVID-19. And it is believed that it was Ardern who went knocking on the Australian PM's door to strike up the idea of creating a local bubble.

In Australia, as the domestic states reopen for business, the PMs of Australia and New Zealand are looking to create a potential travel bubble to help reopen both economies within a 'safehouse health zone'. 

The two countries, who rely on each other for tourism income, are actively cooperating toward a shared economic recovery. Assuming all health conditions are met, the potential agreement speaks volumes for the level of collaboration that will be required moving forward - and the way women think in calamitous situations. 

Yes, I do know Scottie isn't a girl and he is one of the PMs and credit where it's due. Certainly for Australia and New Zealand, we are awfully pleased to have Jacinda nearby and our ally. Imagine if her name was Donald. We wouldn't be so awfully pleased about that great mass of ocean separating us from the rest of the world.

(1) This is a partnership video project between the IPU, Arizona State University, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, the Council of Women World Leaders,  United Nations, UN Women, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Pulse, and Women Political Leaders. The videos are designed for people working in and for parliaments, and for societal champions advocating for change. Images: Unsplash: Candice Seplow / Omar Lopex / Katie Moum 


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