Global Female Leaders: Making a positive impact

Global Female Leaders: Making a positive impact

Sustainability, resilience and stakeholder expectations – find out what Global Female Leaders think about these topics. The GFLO results provide interesting insights into the current economic situation.

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.


The pandemic has led many companies to deprioritize their sustainability goals in order to deal with the more pressing consequences of the crisis.

42 percent of Global Female Leaders believe that activities aimed at combating climate change will be of even greater importance in the post-COVID-19 area. While another 45 percent expect the topic to remain as relevant as before, only four percent think it will decrease in importance.

ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues are likely to become more relevant with time, with governmental issues being the most relevant in times of crisis (according to 70 percent of participants). Overall, most respondents (58 percent) said they hope to lock in sustainability and climate change gains made as a result of the crisis.

Strengthening resilience and purpose

Our results indicate that Global Female Leaders follow a clear strategy in order to consolidate their organization’s growth and to ensure its survival.

Nine in ten (92 percent) of respondents say they agree or strongly agree that their company needs to improve innovation processes and execution.

Survey participants appear divided over the question of whether their company is successful in linking its growth strategy to a wider societal purpose. While 42 percent of Global Female Leaders admit this is a challenge they are currently facing, 33 percent disagree or strongly disagree that this is a challenge for their company. One quarter of the respondents (25 percent) remain indifferent towards the topic.

In contrast, when it comes to what characterizes a truly resilient company, female leaders have a common understanding. Indeed, 85 percent believe that adapting quickly to the changing business environment is the best way of dealing with disruption in an uncertain business climate.

Shifting stakeholder orientation and customer expectations

New stakeholder values and expectations are emerging as the main drivers for change. It appears that our new working reality will be characterized, more than ever before, by embracing new environmental, social and governmental (ESG) components.

One of the clear findings from this survey is the need for companies to live up to the expectations of all stakeholders, not only shareholders. In fact, 90 percent of the respondents said they agree or strongly agree with this statement.

This shift from shareholder to stakeholder value is also reflected in the following findings:

43 percent of respondents feel pressure from stakeholders to take action to address climate changes

39 percent believe there is a request to act on gender equality

31 percent think stakeholders expect them to act on the issue of job losses due to new automation technologies

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!