Gender diversity in business is making strides, yet significant challenges remain according to a new YPO Survey

NEW YORK, May 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Work ethic, ability to build relationships and passion are key drivers to becoming a business leader according to the new YPO, Financial Times and United Nations Women HeForShe Global Chief Executive Gender Equality research released today at the HeForShe Summit and fielded to uncover groundbreaking insights about the journey to the corner office

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Conducted 10-22 March 2021 with 2,079 YPO member chief executives from 106 countries responding, the survey provides needed research on gender specific roadblocks leaders face in their path toward becoming a chief executive and actionable insights on how to remove them for future generations.

Key learnings include:

  • Overall, 57% of global business leader respondents reported that their companies are somewhat or significantly more gender diverse than five years ago.
  • The female leadership journey takes, on average, two years longer.
  • Women-led businesses report more female diversity on their boards, in senior management and in their organizations. Female chief executives reported that 43% of their senior management is female versus 26% at male-run businesses. At the organization level, 48% of the workforce is female at women-led companies; 37% of the workforce is female at male-run companies.
  • Female chief executives are more likely to face “balancing respect with likability” (30%) and “overcoming others’ preconceptions about me” (20%) than their male counterparts.” In contrast, only 9% of male chief executives have had to overcome preconceptions.
  • When asked about “cultural expectations related to gender,” 2% of male respondents reported facing this compared to 47% of female respondents.
  • Seventy-three percent of female respondents compared to 42% of male respondents took leave or sacrificed career advancement because of family needs.

YPO member respondents provided several key insights on how all business leaders can create a more equitable path forward including:

  • Conduct bias training
  • Make recruiting women a priority
  • Support flexible work options

Complete survey results are available on

The YPO Global Chief Executive Gender Equality Survey Methodology:

The Global Chief Executive Gender Equality Survey was fielded to YPO members from 10-22 March 2021 via an online questionnaire. A total of 2,079 YPO member, whose ages range from 24 to 92, responded to the survey. The members in this sample, 23% of whom were women, are representative of the larger YPO population and come from 106 different countries. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.09 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

About YPO:
YPO is the global leadership community of more than 30,000 chief executives in 142 countries who are connected by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders. Each of our members have achieved significant leadership success at a young age. Combined, they lead businesses and organizations contributing USD9 trillion in annual revenue. YPO members inspire and support each other through peer learning in an inclusive community of open sharing and trust. Visit for more.

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