Gender diversity in companies is on the rise, but significant challenges remain, new YPO survey finds


NEW YORK, May 27, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Work ethic, ability to build relationships and passion are the main drivers for becoming a business leader, according to new study by YPO, Financial Times and United Nations Women HeForShe Global Chief Executive Gender Equality released today at the HeForShe summit. learn groundbreaking information on the journey to the corner office

Led March 10-22, 2021 With responses from 2,079 CEOs who are YPO members from 106 countries, the survey provides the necessary research into the gender-specific barriers leaders face on their journey to CEO appointments and actionable insights on how to remove them. for future generations.

The main learnings include:

  • Overall, 57% of global business leaders surveyed said their businesses were somewhat or much more heterogeneous than they were five years ago.
  • The journey of female leadership takes on average two more years.
  • Women-led companies report greater female diversity on their boards, senior management and organizations. Women CEOs reported that 43% of their senior executives were women compared to 26% in companies headed by men. At the organizational level, 48% of the workforce is women in companies headed by women; 37% of the workforce is women in companies headed by men.
  • Female CEOs are more likely to experience a “balance of respect and sympathy” (30%) and “overcoming other people’s preconceptions about me” (20%) than their male counterparts. In contrast, only 9% of male leaders had to overcome preconceptions.
  • When asked about “cultural expectations linked to gender”, 2% of men questioned said they faced them, compared to 47% of women.
  • Seventy-three percent of women surveyed versus 42% of men surveyed took time off work or sacrificed career advancement because of family needs.

Respondents from YPO provided several key insights into how all business leaders can create a fairer path, including:

  • Conduct prejudice training
  • Make recruiting women a priority
  • Support flexible working options

The full survey results are available on

YPO CEO Global Gender Equality Survey Methodology:

The CEO’s Global Gender Equality Survey was sent to YPO members of March 10-22, 2021 via an online questionnaire. A total of 2,079 YPO members, aged 24 to 92, responded to the survey. The members of this sample, 23% of whom were women, are representative of the entire YPO population and come from 106 different countries. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.09 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

About YPO:
YPO is the global leadership community of over 30,000 CEOs in 142 countries who are bound by a shared belief that the world needs better leaders. Each of our members has achieved significant leadership success at a young age. Together they lead companies and organizations contributing 9 trillion USD in annual turnover. YPO members inspire and support each other through peer learning in an inclusive community of open sharing and trust. Visit to learn more.


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