Do Female Presidents Make a Difference?

Article/Op-Ed in Glamour Magazine
Oct. 27, 2016

Jay Newton-Small wrote in the Glamour November print edition about whether female presidents make a difference.

If polls are any indication, Hillary Clinton is poised to join one of the world’s smallest clubs: female heads of state. But do women govern differently than men? And do a country’s female citizens fare any better under female leaders? For centuries, too few women held these roles to tell. But as more women run more countries—18 out of 195 at press time—there are more case studies to consider than ever.

Some female leaders have made life better for their countrywomen. Starting in 2009, Argentina’s first female president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, spent billions on universal child benefits, a controversial move that helped millions of Argentine women move into the work- force. Argentina now ranks sixth of 108 countries in gender equality.

Impressive, but not as impressive as Johanna Sigurdardottir. As the first female prime minister of Iceland, she steered her country out of a recession. Though Sigurdardottir is no longer in office, her policies are expected to help Iceland become the first country in the world to close its gender gap across areas like health, education, economy, and politics.