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Open AccessArticle

Gender Effect on Political Leaders’ Nonverbal Communicative Structure during the COVID-19 Crisis

1
Department of Communication and The Program of Conflict Research, Management and Resolution, The Hebrew University, 91905 Jerusalem, Israel
2
Department of Education, Ono Academic College, 55000 Kiryat Ono, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7789; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217789
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 19 October 2020 / Accepted: 21 October 2020 / Published: 24 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Differences in Emotions, Cognition, and Behavior)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been intense interest in political leaders’ nonverbal communicative structures (NCS) during televised appearances. This study analyzes the effect of gender on leaders’ NCS and presents theoretical and analytical frameworks of gendered NCS. We analyzed 20 televised appearances by 10 heads of state (five males and five females) from democratic Western countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings revealed that gender had a significant effect on leaders’ NCS, indicating that leaders presented NCS that corresponded to their gender. Male leaders’ masculine NCS included competition, warning, threatening, and scaring behavior, broad proxemics, tension leakage, and illustrative gestures, while female leaders presented feminine NCS of cooperativeness, emotional communication, empathy, optimism, eye contact, and flexible expressions. Furthermore, the effect of gender on leaders’ NCS had an interaction effect with the situation of the pandemic, indicating that countries with a female leader had fewer diseased and severe cases and more calmness and healing NCS. The conclusions present theoretical and analytical frameworks that explain the central effect of gender on contemporary leaders’ NCS. This study develops advanced distinctive profiles for male versus female leaders’ NCS of emotions, cognition, and behavior during a crisis.
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Keywords: gender; nonverbal communication; COVID-19; leadership; political communication gender; nonverbal communication; COVID-19; leadership; political communication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Grebelsky-Lichtman, T.; Katz, R. Gender Effect on Political Leaders’ Nonverbal Communicative Structure during the COVID-19 Crisis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7789.

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