Skirt Club events are starting to pop up around the world, and in an effort to be fair we've held off on our signature parties until all members could participate freely and safely. So I’ve been doing a little digging into which countries are faring better than others when it comes to reopening, and subsequently which countries had a clear and effective strategy to bring the deadly novel virus to its knees (a phrase I usually love but has absolutely no charm here). Skirt Club is a global organization with hubs of sisterhood and pleasure in over 30 different countries, which meant a lot of research for little old me. What emerged was that countries that are more egalitarian fared much better than those who skewed towards the masculine.

Bear with me here...

New York City is an odd place right now. Everybody has a different idea of what is safe and appropriate behaviour. Ride any subway and you’re bound to see someone standing in the furthest corner with two masks layered on top of each other, barely touching any sort of railing, glaring at those who don’t share their anxieties. In the same car, you’re likely to see someone eating a B.E.C. (“bacon, egg and cheese,” for the uninitiated), licking their fingers like it’s 2019 and letting a bit of jammy yolk dribble down their chin. The point being: New York is a hot mess with absolutely no consensus of what is safe or right. There were 581 new cases reported in the last week, but numbers like that don’t seem to mean anything anymore.

Meanwhile, do you know what New Zealand did back in February? 50,000 people attended a concert in Auckland, New Zealand. It was a sold-out stadium banger with bodies shimmying, grinding, and sweating all over each other. How fucking great does that sound? And not a mask was in sight. I would have given anything to have been there. But, instead, I was stuck in New York. A state that, since the beginning of the pandemic, has lost 52,480 to the virus. That’s more than could fit in the sold out arena stadium in New Zealand. The very thought makes me feel a bit sick. Only 26 people have died in New Zealand due to COVID-19, a country led by the remarkable, efficient, gracious and empathetic Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Ardern is not a perfect leader, but her competence has set the bar for much of the pandemic. And what kind of population enthusiastically elects a female leader? I’ll tell you: a population that is more liberal and egalitarian to begin with.

Research completed by the science journal PLOS One blew open the myth that countries led by women fared better than countries led by men. It wasn’t that Jacinda Ardern herself was the cure for COVID. It was that the population of New Zealand was already culturally more feminine, empathetic, and understanding of public health as a collective effort. Study author Leah C. Windsor explained: “A society’s culture matters the most to how well it does during the pandemic.” Society’s culture is reflected in its subsequent choice of leadership, resulting in policies that are more likely to address inequalities and protect the vulnerable.

All this brings me back to Skirt Club. Skirt Club values intelligence, fairness and equality. Our sisterhood prioritizes collective well-being over individualism and selfishness. And we do it naturally because we’re women. I can’t wait until it’s safe enough to have signature parties again, and I’ve been so proud of our response leading up to that glorious moment. My hope is that Skirt Club’s culture seeps into other aspects of our lives so that the whole world might become a little more fair and liberal. And who knows? Maybe the next Jacinda Ardern is among us.

See you soon, babes. xx

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