This section hosts guidelines, manuals and toolkits to strengthen public health practice.
The public health and economic crises emanating from the COVID-19 outbreak have elevated the importance of strong and steady corporate leadership. The pandemic period has shown in stark relief the devastating consequences when leaders fail. It also has brought to light the value of women’s leadership, and the importance of ethical and moral purpose, compassion, and care—often-overlooked characteristics that are traditionally associated with women.
One recent study revealed that women business leaders were rated more positively than their male counterparts in 13 out of 19 competencies associated with leadership during crisis—including concern for employees’ well-being, ability to inspire and motivate, integrity, agility, decisiveness, collaboration, and innovation.
Despite their relatively small numbers, women business leaders have long demonstrated a track record of helping companies thrive. Multiple studies, looking at thousands of listed and un-listed firms around the world, have established correlations between gender diversity at the top and stronger financial performance. Gender diversity is also positively correlated with Now, more than ever, businesses need this diversity. Trends that will define 2021 and beyond will require top talent at the table to energize organizations for the future. A balanced C-suite and board equipped with a mix of leadership styles, perspectives, skills, and experience will be better prepared to address unfolding challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.
As with their counterparts in government, women business leaders are rising to these challenges. They are successfully managing their organizations at a time of flux and disruption. To learn more about what they are doing and the effective strategies they are using, IFC reached out to more than 500 (mostly) female business leaders from emerging markets and fragile economies around the world, as well as corporate governance and women’s leadership experts. IFC also conducted in-depth video interviews with eight prominent women business leaders, representing a range of industry sectors and regions where IFC works.
The guidance provided here is anecdotal and informal in nature—based on lived experience and lessons learned in crisis management. The goal is to share knowledge about what has worked and why, from an often overlooked yet critically important segment of the global business leadership cohort. The hope is that the worldwide business community—particularly in emerging and fragile contexts—will benefit from the case studies and insights offered, as the private sector recalibrates and looks ahead. Plans also include using this content as a training tool on women’s leadership and crisis management, to complement the materials currently in use for the Women on Boards and in Business Leadership training program.