To rebuild a just, equal, and inclusive global economy after the pandemic, we need more female leaders and gender-focused data.

"Women in Leadership," the theme of the 2021 International Women's Day celebration, raised two big questions: What will leadership look like in the wake of COVID-19, and why do we need more female leaders? It's easy to answer the first question.

Leadership has become decentralized. It is no longer limited to presidents, prime ministers and other politicians.

It includes CEOs, community leaders in cities and rural villages, civil society advocates, and academic experts. Answering the second question–why we need more female leaders–is more complex. There are three reasons to consider: Women are underrepresented as leaders.

They are heads of state in only 20 countries and hold only a quarter of parliamentary seats globally. They accounted for just 18% of CEOs and 28% of managers in the private sector, according to the UN.

Second, women bring diverse leadership skills. Female leaders' response to COVID-19 has proven effective.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.