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Women in leadership positions during the coronacrisis



Women make up a small percentage of the CEOs and world leaders but have shown significant results in navigating the coronavirus crisis.

According to UK online trading leader IG’s research ‘Top female CEOs in the UK in 2020’, only 5% of FTSE 100 have female CEOs in 2020. And only 2% of the FTSE 250 are led by women.

The CS Gender 3000 report in 2019 by Credit Suisse reveals that only 5% of more than 3000 companies across 56 countries are led by women. Just 4.7% of S&P 500 companies have female CEOs in 2020.

Reports from the coronavirus crisis from February to May, show share price returns of female-led companies have registered better performance than their male counterparts in four out of nice business sectors.

C200, membership organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders and IG have collaborated to show how some female leaders have dealt with the coronavirus crisis.

Merrilee Kick serves as CEO of BuzzBallz and Southern Champion – the only winery in the US, owned by a woman. The CDC deemed her business essential and she was asked by the government to switch production to hand sanitizer. Kick ensured her employees feel safe, understood and valued, while also offering them hazard pay and to fill their tanks with gas.

Kick explained:

Merrilee Kick
Merrilee Kick

I just feel like they need to hear from me. I’ve got 100 employees. And I just said stop production, bring them outside, I want to talk to them.

I think they felt a million times better after I met with them just to know that they’re going to be taken care of and that they’re going to have their job.

Women in leadership positions

Savannah Maziya is founder and executive chairperson of Bunengi Holdings Group. The company is one of Africa’s most prominent black female-owned investment groups. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, her company had to let 60,000 people go home. She brought in mental health practitioners because to help with the strain and growing worries of her employees.

Maziya said:

Savannah Maziya
Savannah Maziya

Women are meant for this! Because we, literally, from day one multi-task.

The planning and logistics were quite something. We had never thought we had to do anything of this nature with this short time frame. But once we understood it had to be done, it was done. It’s a lesson in how to work together.

Maziya added:

We should take this opportunity to really push our position on leadership.

Hannah Kain, president and CEO of ALOM Technology, supply chain management firm noted:

As a leader, it’s a huge challenge. On the other hand, it’s also very gratifying because I feel this is where my experience many years as a company leader, really can help other people.

Alison Gutterman, CEO and president of cleaning product manufacturer Jelmar that supplies retail stores across the US commented:

Alison Gutterman
Alison Gutterman

I think that major corporations, as well as small corporations, like mine, the idea of a work-life balance is going to be so important.

I think that corporations are really going to see that the productivity of their employees did not diminish when they were working at their homes and when they were able to have more time to spend with their families. And in most cases, it actually made them a better employee because they were structuring their time so that they could get their work done. They were just happier to be at home.

Mithu Bhargava serves as the senior vice-president and general manager of NCR Corporation. The company is leading enterprise technology provider. Bhargava speaks about how the coronavirus crisis affected her clients – banks, restaurants, grocery stores. With the significant effect the pandemic had on their client’s businesses, their clients needed their services even more. NCR Corporation operates in 52 countries with different phases and different measures.

Bhargava said:

You’ve got to keep this perspective that this is transient, this too shall pass. The first thing I’d say is that this mindset is really important.

Rani Yadav-Ranjan, global head of AI technology and innovation at Ericsson concluded:

Hopefully, the bonus out of all of this is that we will realize that people’s talents and skills outweigh anything else. And we won’t see biases that we’ve had in the past. We won’t’ see reasons why we can’t grow.

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Women in leadership positions during the coronacrisis

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