When COVID-19 emerged just over a year ago, it felt as if the world was ending. Would we ever go to work again? Travel again? See a movie again? It’s unsurprising that mass panic swept the globe for most of 2020. But for Kizzmekia Corbett, Christine Squires, and Jacinda Ardern, this was no time for retreat: it was time to act, and someone had to step up to the plate. Though their fields were different and their tasks immense, these three women gathered their strength and launched initiatives that would prove beneficial at the outset of the pandemic, and are still saving lives to this day.
Leading Through Science: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett
When she graduated with her Ph.D. in immunology in 2014, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett could not have known that in just six short years, she would be at the forefront of a research team searching for the cure to a world-wide virus. But through hard work and determination, she would play an instrumental role in the development of mRNA-1273, the vaccine used by Moderna, Inc. This vaccine currently holds a breathtaking 94% effectiveness rate, making it one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines in use. Dr. Corbett is a leading scientist, excellent role model, and an inspiration to all girls who wish to work in science and medicine.
Leading Through Humanitarian Work: C.E.O. Christine Squires
Though the nonprofit organization Americares has been around for years, C.E.O. Christine Squires has led the organization to many victories concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has Americares donated over 120 tons of supplies to foreign countries, but it has also partnered with four thousand hospitals and clinics across the globe. In an interview with Global Citizen, Squires stated that she “could not be more humbled to lead such a strong group of committed individuals who are working every day to save lives. . . .” We can all learn a lesson on what it means to come together by looking at the example provided by Christine Squires.
Leading Through Politics: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
When the coronavirus epidemic became a global pandemic, it fell to world leaders to try to find order in the chaos. It was no easy task; most, if not all, countries are still grappling with the effects of the virus. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, however, launched a plan to eradicate the virus early on, and in doing so saved her country a massive amount of pain and suffering. Currently, New Zealand only has about one coronavirus case per one million people; in the United States, there are about 191 coronavirus cases per one million people. Ardern also provides regular updates on the pandemic through informal Facebook live chats accessible to many of her constituents. Because the world of politics is mostly dominated by men, it is invigorating to see women leading the way out of the darkness the pandemic has caused.
How Can You Lead?
While most of us do not coordinate relief campaigns or develop vaccines, there are still many ways that we can help make a difference for others in the world around us. There are countless charities accepting donations, including the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and Live Your Dream’s support efforts for women impacted by COVID-19. Even a simple social media post raising awareness about a current issue can go a long way. During times like these, it is important to remember that while we may be separated, it will take a united effort in order to survive and prosper in the future. With women like Kizzmekia Corbett, Christine Squires, and Jacinda Ardern as our role models, it appears that there is hope for us yet.
Isabel is a student from South Carolina who enjoys writing, drawing, and other artistic endeavors. She has a strong interest in the women’s rights movement, and hopes to contribute to that movement through her writing.