Do Women Make Better Leaders?

Mercedes Araoz Fernandez: In South America, I think there’s this feeling that women can run a country better because, in general, they see women less prone to corruption.  There’s expectation that women won’t be involved in that kind of thing, so you will see women like President Bachelet in Chile or Ms. Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, but it’s not only South America.  See, right now in Mexico there is a woman with a high possibility to run the country in Mexico now in the elections, also in Costa Rica and countries like that.  So more and more women are involved in politics. 

Usually women like to work more in teams than men.  We are competitive as men, but at the same time we can handle and deposit responsibility in others.  And that’s important because when you say to someone to collaborate with you in this process of building a country or a business or something, you empower the people you are working with.  So it’s very important to say, yes, I’m responsible, but also you work with me and you’re responsible for your part.  

When I was Minister of Trade and Tourism, there was a particular event in which I was involved, and I think I really empowered my people to work with me.  There was this candidacy for Machu Picchu to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.  As a government, we didn’t have enough money to do the promotion and make people vote for Machu Picchu to be one of the new wonders.  And what I decided to do is to do it by myself.  I went to the TV shows and started going to schools and promote with them people to start voting for Machu Picchu.  

It became a crusade.  Many people got involved with me--school boys, school girls, people in their government, but I also got people that are not in the government, the private sector.  We started raising money, we started making everybody voting.  Even people in the prisons were voting for Machu Picchu to be one of the Seven Wonders.  And we achieved the goal as a country.  And the good thing about that is we have this feeling of identity or having a national goal accomplished altogether, as a country.  


Directed / Produced by

Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd


Mercedes Rosalba Aráoz Fernández has observed that women leaders, herself included, tend to collaborate more openly and distribute power more liberally than males do. The not-very-surprising result, she says, is a more contented workforce or constituency, and better outcomes.

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less