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Her country’s approach to the coronavirus appears to be working

April 1, 2020, 12:10 PM UTC
DENMARK-HEALTH-VIRUS
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen cautiously expresses optimism during a press conference on the new coronavirus COVID-19 at her office in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 30, 2020. (Photo by Martin Sylvest / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT (Photo by MARTIN SYLVEST/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
MARTIN SYLVEST—Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Lilly Ledbetter endorses Joe Biden, Idaho prevents transgender girls from playing girls’ sports, and we hear from a female(!) head of government about the coronavirus. Have a nice Wednesday. 

– ‘The Danish way.’  The make-up of world leadership these days means that most of the voices we hear on the coronavirus crisis are men’s. Surely, you’ve heard plenty from President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to name a few. There are, of course, a dozen or so women leading nations through this unprecedented moment in history. And one of them says her nation’s approach appears to be effective.

“The Danish way of doing things is working,” Mette Frederiksen, the 42-year-old who became Denmark’s prime minister last June, said on Monday.

Denmark was one of the first countries to take action against the outbreak, closing schools, limiting social gatherings, and—in mid-March—shutting its borders entirely. Denmark is also guaranteeing 90% of workers’ salaries to prevent mass layoffs. It has just over 3,000 coronavirus cases, with 90 deaths.

It’s in no way out of the woods, but the measures have significantly reduced how many people are infected via each COVID-19-positive patient, experts say.

Frederiksen says citizens’ “joint efforts” deserve credit. In fact, Danes are adhering to the social restrictions so well and emergency calls have dropped off so dramatically that doctors had to urge people suffering from non-coronavirus ailments to continue to seek treatment.

Frederiksen now says Denmark might start to ease back into normal life after Easter, though she warned vulnerable populations—seniors, especially—that they may be subject to the measures longer than others. “We are asking the weakest to be the strongest right now,” she said. “And that is a tough request.”

Even with Frederiksen’s cautious optimism, her country’s progress on the matter represents a bright spot.

Claire Zillman
claire.zillman@fortune.com
@clairezillman

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Equal pay endorsement. Just in time for yesterday's Equal Pay Day, Lilly Ledbetter, the woman for whom the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is named, endorsed Joe Biden for president. The Fair Pay Act was the first that President Obama signed into law during his administration. Washington Post

- Hotel help. Amid France's coronavirus social restrictions, complaints of domestic violence have spiked by one-third, as women are trapped at home with their abusers. The government is taking action to address the problem, relocating women to hotels and employing a secret code word so victims can seek help at pharmacies. Vice

- Mary B speaks. Days after being called out by President Trump on Twitter, General Motors CEO Mary Barra writes about her company's partnership with Ventec to manufacture ventilators, as well as GM's plans to start making surgical masks. "Efforts by numerous industries to fill these urgent needs is striking a nerve because it’s about hope and support for each other during a time that can seem isolating and scary," she writes. LinkedIn

- Limiting laws. Idaho Governor Brad Little signed into law two bills that limit the rights of transgender people in the state. One prohibits transgender people from changing their gender on the state's birth certificates, while the other specifically prevents transgender girls from playing on girls' and women's sports teams. CNN

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Brandless co-founder Tina Sharkey is joining the board of PBS. Sofinnova Investments promoted Maha Katabi to general partner and Sarah Bhagat to partner. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Decision time. Federal judges in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas blocked restrictions on abortion put into place during the coronavirus crisis; an appeals court in Texas then reversed that call in the state, allowing the restrictions to take effect. But Alabama's Judge Myron Thompson cited the state's already tight limits on abortion in his decision, saying that the usual time constraints mean coronavirus restrictions would prevent women from "exercising their right to obtain an abortion" at all. CNN

- Staying grounded. In an ongoing series, Fortune is talking to professionals in different industries about how the coronavirus crisis has changed their jobs. In this piece, lifestyle blogger Lindsay Silberman explains how to remain a travel influencer when you can't travel. Fortune

- Chanel's cartoons. If you follow activist and Know My Name author Chanel Miller on Instagram, you're probably familiar with her illustrations. Those cartoons now have a home in the New Yorker; this one is about having nothing to do during quarantine while your partner is busy working. The New Yorker

ON MY RADAR

Dolly Parton will read bedtime stories to kids online every week NPR

How am I supposed to focus on work right now? The Cut

Silicon Valley mom gets 7 months for $450,000 college scam Bloomberg

Selena forever! How family and fans are keeping the icon’s memory alive Zora

PARTING WORDS

"This is not a side issue. It goes to the heart of whether women and families are able to lead safe, healthy, fulfilling lives."

-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Equal Pay Day yesterday