The von der Leyen Commission was set to start work on 1 November 2019. However, due to ongoing EU inter-institutional meltdown, the start of the new Commission has been postponed to at least 1 December. Meanwhile, political wranglings at the national level (including the collapse of the government in Romania, as well as Brexit in the UK) have also slowed things down.

Nevertheless, barring major upset, a woman will finally hold the EU’s top job for the first time in the Commission’s 61-year history. Not only that, but Ursula von der Leyen has pushed for a gender-balanced Commission, with 14 of the 27 originally-proposed Commissioners being female (though the rejection of two female nominees has disrupted things slightly, given that the suggested replacements are both male).

Why has it taken us six decades to get a gender-balanced Commission? There are plenty of studies out there indicating that women are better suited to management positions than men, and that they score higher than men in terms of leadership skills. Indeed, as former US President Barack Obama puts it: the world needs more female leaders because “men seem to be having some problems these days”.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Julie, who argues that gender doesn’t make a difference when it comes to political leadership. She believes it’s all down to the individual, and gender shouldn’t come into it.

To get a response, we put Julie’s comment to Francesca Cavallo, co-creator of the award-winning children’s book “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” and one of Friends of Europe’s European Young Leaders. What does she think?

To get another perspective, we put the same comment to Mate Rimac, founder & CEO of Rimac Automobili, a Croatian car manufacturer which produces electric sports cars. How would he respond to Julie?

Are women better leaders? Or does gender make no difference when it comes to leadership? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to leaders and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (cc) Flickr – NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization


76 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Anelia

    Man ,women,,doesn’t matter everything depends which interests and agenda they are fowling

  2. avatar
    Bodis

    Reverse sexism is still sexism.

  3. avatar
    Edmond

    it’s not about gender it’s about knowledge and skills

  4. avatar
    Hannah

    Of course one should never generalise, but I do think that there is something to be said for women making better leaders. Women are often raised to be more empathetic and to be “team players”, which are great leadership attributes. This is not at all to say that men can’t be equally empathetic and they can certainly also be team players, but they are often taught to disregard emotions and to fight on their own…

    • avatar
      Nico

      That’s the reason why they are not good leaders. Being empathic doesn’t make you a good leader. It makes you a bad leader. You should make rational decisions, not emotional decisions.

  5. avatar
    Olivier

    I think so. Women are more in the mood of serving their people than men who are looking for power

  6. avatar
    Frederick

    How absolutely ridiculous. Both men and women are humans, both sharing a very similar brain. To say that one is more intelligent than the other does not make sense. That their thought process might diverge little because of biological make up, is possible; but to say that their intelligence differs is a fallacy.

  7. avatar
    Simona

    Yes. But more than that it’s about the individuals abilities.

  8. avatar
    Robert

    Actually worse. Female rulers are 27% more likely to wage WAR than males. Over the past 500 years, queens have been more likely to wage war than kings. And married queens were found to be especially war-like. Exceptions prove the rule. I’m sorry, leading skill is gender influenced, but the weaker sex is not automatically the better.

    • avatar
      Vassiliki

      You are right. Men can be very dim.

  9. avatar
    Peter

    Merkel yes, her aide, Ursula von der Leyen will be good President

  10. avatar
    Florin

    Why? You forgot being inclusive? Are you willingly exposing yoursel to discrimination accusations? Ho Ho Ho! Why does a gender have to make anything better? It’s about what individuals do… But not in the case of political leadership…

  11. avatar
    Valentin

    European Union is in chaos.Do you need an photo?

  12. avatar
    Yannick

    Actually this is complicated, the question is too sweeping. My theory is this: women who make it to the top in a man’s world are probably likely to be worse, because they had to double-prove their worth against masculine values (and against make chauvinism). But if there is real equality, and enough women in power for more feminine values to have any values, then those emerging to power, whether make or female, are definitely more likely to perform better. For recent examples I’d say look at Canada (male feminist leader) and New Zealand (a real woman who cares).

    • avatar
      Dionis

      Canada wasn’t built in a day – wise women say ;)

  13. avatar
    Vassiliki

    Does leadership depend on biology or in personal abilities?… (Is that a serious question to answer in 2019? Then we are in biiiiiiig trouble!)

  14. avatar
    Αλέξανδρος

    No I dont think so men are better leaders!

  15. avatar
    Olivier

    Maybe transgender will be the best…

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Olivier. Why?

    • avatar
      Olivier

      Debating Europe, am joking

    • avatar
      Olivier

      à mix of both genders could be interesting but I think that political leaders should have a family and kids
      ..

  16. avatar
    Hannah

    Your point reeks of old-school sexism! Basically all the points mentioned by you have been disproved by studies such as the ones linked in this article…

  17. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Are women better leaders?

    I think the DE is being disingenuous with this question. As I have written before, why put up a thread for comments and then refuse to air the comments going against the answer they are looking for? That creates fake news. Such as incomplete polls. The idea in such a thread is not to reflect it is to propagandise.

    I wrote yesterday that female leaders are not better leaders. That, in my opinion, it is proven they are not an asset. I see them as not emotionally suitable and it strongly comes across when in office or running for office, that they are weak, muddled and lack logic. And to offer a nation a person, male or female, who lacks ability for such a job, is calculated destruction.

    Then I gave good examples for my rant.

  18. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Are women better leaders?

    In this link below you will see the women who has been selected for leadership of one of the UK’s three leading political party candidates in our coming GE. She has sent out expensive leaflets to every household in the UK, advising the readers she will be the next PM of our country.

    Listen to her delivery, sound of voice and look at the red skin patches on her chest as she shakes in fear. More importantly what she is offering. Does that really give you a sense of confidence in her ability to lead this nation for world stage performance? Is this the best Britain can do for such a top drawer position?

    Incidentally, her husband is the one who has his company receiving vast amounts of EU money. I wonder what for?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbAdegamNIk

    Here is the previous leader for this same party who was taken in as a coalition leader with the Tories previously to rule the UK. Do you spot a difference or would you say they are equals?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7lf4BMuZeo

  19. avatar
    Nomen

    Are humans autonomous beings that have personalities influenced more by their material conditions than by their sexual organs???

  20. avatar
    Hellekeen

    no,.. but they are also not worse and i think we need both entities to make up a whole “good leader”

  21. avatar
    Blanka

    Leadership qualities don’t depend on gender though both genders have unique qualities they can bring to a leadership position

  22. avatar
    Marianne

    eror sej på vad dom har innanför pannbenet,och hon och Löfven är det enkom sågspån,min ärliga åsikt…

  23. avatar
    George

    When we try to proceed and exercise equality between men and woman in any field, I think it would be wise not to complicate. I believe a person is good at something or not! It doesn’t matter the gender. This question could be adding weight to a nonending discrimination between genders.

  24. avatar
    Agneta

    No, they are not better leaders. Many times worse

  25. avatar
    Dionis

    Tricky question. Are you trolling us, debating Europe? :D

  26. avatar
    Amelie

    judging from the examples we have to look at, no, certainly not

  27. avatar
    Liudmyla

    men are much smarter and arguing with this is stupid

  28. avatar
    Carola

    I don´t get that picture I´m afraid by the look of everything so,,,

  29. avatar
    Ans

    No not necesairry. I think the same as men.

  30. avatar
    Dorcie

    If she has a strong personalities…..

  31. avatar
    Alex

    What a strange question, you need leaders?
    Why then you talk about men/women?
    Start to talk about leaders!
    Ok, I understood – you do not need the leaders, you need the talks about men/women.

  32. avatar
    Panassama Srisawad

    I think it’s doesn’t matter it’s depends on their agenda

  33. avatar
    Insaf

    God created us human being equal so what men can do women can do

  34. avatar
    Carlos Trocado

    … qualifications and competence are the sole required mheritocracy.
    … it depends on which woman are we comparing to which man.

  35. avatar
    Carlos Trocado Ferreira

    … qualifications and competence are the sole required mheritocracy.
    … it depends on which woman are we comparing to which man.

  36. avatar
    Maria

    No. The best Corona response is from Sweden. It was not a political attitude, instead a technical one.

  37. avatar
    Chris

    No, thd best person is. We in the UK have had one of the best in Mrs Thatcher and one of the worst in treason may. We have had awful male leaders like Blair and brown and then we have boris who I think will go down as one of the best, we also had Churchill. Nothing to do with their sex

  38. avatar
    Pirvulescu

    No, men are.
    *The comment is ment to infuriate 3rd wave feminists, if you aren’t one you already know that the best leader is the best qualified person, regardless of sex, gender, religion etc.*

  39. avatar
    George

    Isn’t that racist and discriminatory?
    You would never ask “Are men better leaders?”, would you?
    Best COVID response so far was China’s, and NO, their leader is not a woman, so your premise is based on fiction.

    • avatar
      Pirvulescu

      China is lying through their teeth.
      It is socially acceptable to bash men and make sexist remarks that make women look better than men at almost all tasks.

  40. avatar
    Joel

    No nor are men. Gender is not the base of good or bad leaders. For example, Portugal is one of the best response countries to the coronavirus and for some reason that was ignore (maybe because it fits this gender narrative bs) – our leader is a man.

    • avatar
      Christoph

      I spent the past few weeks in Portugal. People are very orderly out there – they follow the rules. Unlike here in Germany where quite a few persons simply don’t keep distance, go shopping without masks (even though it is the law now), etc. It’s not only the leaders, but also folks that make a good response to the crisis.

  41. avatar
    Rick

    Character is what counts, not gender.

  42. avatar
    Michael

    New Zealand women specifically are the best leaders. Henceforth all European constitutions must be amended to stipulate that only New Zealand women are eligible to run for office in Europe.

  43. avatar
    Alex

    I think the women who made it are better leaders. It’s the same way as the few females in engineering class tend to be the best students. The reason is simple. Males just go into politics or engineering and stuff, just cause that’s what guys do. The females who get involved in these areas actively decide and want to be there.

  44. avatar
    Olivier

    They might have more the sense of general interest… Could admit mistakes and might not be obsessed by power…

    • avatar
      Olivier

      true. Difficult to give general assessment

  45. avatar
    Hugo

    No. There are good male leaders and good female leaders. The personality is everything, not the gender.

    • avatar
      Ana

      So in just one phrase you erased at least the last 7000 years of the History!
      I’m sorry Hugo but your opinion shows that you missed a few essential books…

    • avatar
      Hugo

      I don’t understand your comment. In the history there were many Male and Female leaders. Example, Joan D’Arc, Cleopatra were female leaders. Males you have many more, because of the “male superiority” all these years and the women were just to have kids. But this mentality is over now. Today you have Leaders for the good and for the bad, either male, either female. you have Queen Elisabeth as one of the most important female leaders, or even Angela Merkl. For good and for bad, you have Trump as a leader, but there are many more. And even the history brought us other leaders like Winston Churchill or even Adolf Hitler. Both were leaders and had a lot of followers.

  46. avatar
    Paulo

    making questions like these, isnt against the equality that the EU defends?

  47. avatar
    Carlos

    … it depends on which woman we are comparing to which man. Competence and qualifications are the sole meritocracy required to become a leader.

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