Covid-19: A potential equalizer for gender equality

Covid-19: A potential equalizer for gender equality

The Covid-19 pandemic is acting like a burning glass on many issues. Also on working conditions for families. With it comes a new perspective on what companies and management need to do for people to feel well taken care of. Read more about the mood among female leaders here.

The Global Female Leaders Outlook

The Global Female Leaders Outlook 2020 provides insight into the minds of female leaders as the pandemic continues to upend societies, communities and economies. Nearly 700 female leaders across 52 countries were surveyed between September and October 2020 to understand the impact on their professional and personal priorities throughout the pandemic. 44 percent of the respondents are with companies that have more than US $500M in annual revenue.

The questions are based on economic and business expectations, risks and opportunities, as well as on career and gender diversity factors. This framework enables to draw comparisons between the pre-COVID world and the new reality.

Evolving working world

The growing importance of the workforce is a trend that will continue for years to come. In fact, some developments can already be seen in this area. For instance, the increase in remote working has led to top managers striving for a trust-oriented, rather than control-based, leadership style. As employees play an increasingly important role in realizing a company’s digitization strategy, attracting and retaining the right people will pose a key challenge for some industries from a mid- to long-term perspective.

In addition to the remuneration aspect, new incentive systems must be introduced to attract and retain the best people. To overcome this challenge, Global Female Leaders rate the following incentives to be the most relevant:

Good work-life balance (50 percent)

Positive team atmosphere (48 percent)

Time flexibilityy (48 percent)

A meaningful and purposeful work environment (33 percent)

The first three factor obtained similarly high rating from the respondents. These factors provide an outlook on the new working world from both an employer and employee perspective. While “positive team atmosphere”, the highest-ranked incentive of 2019, remains quite high on the 2020 list. “Meaningful and purposeful work environment” has been pushed into the background and replaced by “good work-life balance” and “time flexibility”. These elements are essential for female leaders, as they reconcile family and professional life.

Personal implications

When asked about which personal strengths are necessary to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, Global Female Leaders agrees on similiar points:

Being a strategic thinker, being visionary and innovative is top of the list (44 percent)

Closely followed by acting with a great degree of flexibility and agility (43 percent)

Closely followed by being a team player (42 percent).

Resilience (39 percent) also plays an important role

All these strengths are essential to achieving success in the new reality.

Career perspectives

Is the Covid-19 crisis a crisis for women? The pandemic has filtered their private and professional realm alike, resulting in many of them having to take on the double burden of coping with job and family. Especially the closing of schools and nurseries during lockdowns has had a negative impact on women. In addition, many of the hardest hit industries like tourism and transportation, as well as health and house-hold services, are sectors that typically employ a greater proportion of women.

Despite these developments, a larger part of the participants (41 percent) believe Covid-19 will have no impact on their career, while a lesser number (38 percent) are unsure at the moment whether the crisis will affect their career and lesser still (21 percent) actually believe it will have any impact on their career at all.

For the charts and more details on the GFLO Study 2020, read the full report.


Reach out for insight on how female leaders view corporate leadership, where they focus their attention and what they are willing to change.

GFLO 2020

Review 2019: Collaborating to Build a Better World

Once again, remarkable women and influential leaders from all over the world convened under one roof to share their expertise, perspective and acumen on how the world we live in is developing and what everyone can contribute to make a positive impact. Learn more and download the offical review 2019!