Crises like pandemics, depressions and wars have a way of advancing changes in the world that needed to take place. The two world wars advanced the inclusion of women in the workforce, due to women taking roles during the conflicts while men were serving in the army. Post the First World War, many countries introduced universal adult suffrage.
Fourie sees something similar happening today, with women coming to the fore in many areas.
Whereas in the past one might use the phrase “cometh the hour, cometh the man” now we can say “cometh the hour, cometh the woman”.
In this sense, she points to the leadership of countries that have managed the pandemic well, and the learnings that can be gained from them.
“I've learned tremendously from so many international leaders particularly leaders of states like Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, in Germany, Iceland and some of the other Nordic countries – all of whom have had deeply successful leadership experiences through the crisis and have demonstrated the courageousness with which women are able to lead,” she points out. “The lessons that I took from them were lessons of empathy, decisiveness and constant communication.”
Tertia Jacobs, Investec Treasury Economist, notes that women have in many ways borne the brunt of the downturn as a result of Covid-19.