Emerging Stronger Together
It is my pleasure to present this new edition of the Female Global Leaders Outlook. Based on our global survey in more than 50 countries, this edition sheds a special light on female leaders’ perspective on the most defining global crisis of our time: the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact, and how they have responded to it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game changer for societies and economies alike. Compared with previous crises, it has the potential to ignite more persistent change, not only in our personal lives (home working and schooling), but also in business-related areas (digital transformation and communication) as well as the public space (governmental involvement and regulation).
Another salient feature that makes this crisis so extraordinary is the disproportional effect it is having on women. Besides the obvious impact of COVID-19 on people’s health and the world economy, the effects of lockdown measures are particularly acute on private lives. School and nursery closures, for example, have increased pressure on women around the world. They predominantly have had to bear the burden of organizing and caring for families while working from home. Thus, some analysts are already calling the COVID-19 crisis a “crisis of women” or a “Shecession”.
When we decided to produce another Global Female Leaders Outlook, it quickly became apparent that there may be specific implications from the pandemic for female business leaders.
Accordingly, in line with previous editions, we developed our questionnaire based on economic and business expectations, risks and opportunities, as well as on career and gender diversity factors. This framework enables us to draw comparisons between the pre-COVID world and the new reality.
The survey interestingly reveals that female leaders hold a less pessimistic view about COVID-19’s impact on women, compared to the opinion of many analysts. They see a silver lining in this crisis, and the potential to create new opportunities for women as a result of improved digital communication, advances in technology and changes in stakeholder expectations. This has led us to put forward the view that COVID-19 could be a catalyst for gender equality, if not in the short term, at least in the mid to long-term.
Beyond the survey results, what clearly stood out since the beginning of the crisis is the pivotal role that many female leaders have played, here in Qatar and in some other countries, in driving the response to the pandemic, resulting in lower number of casualties in their respective countries. Such vivid examples of female leaders demonstrating remarkable resilience in the face of challenges provide me with inspiration that a more equal world is possible and can be achieved through the same resilience and determination to turn adversity into opportunity.
I hope you will be inspired by the results of the Global Female Leaders Outlook 2020.