Feb 9, 2021

KPMG: Female leaders spot silver linings in Covid-19 crisis

Kate Birch
3 min
Why the pandemic is paving the way for improved communications and could also be a potential equalizer for gender equality, reports KPMG
Why the pandemic is paving the way for improved communications and could also be a potential equaliser for gender equality, reports KPMG...

While there has been much discussion about the pandemic having a disproportionate effect on women in the workplace, the outlook appears a bit more positive with female leaders spotting a number of silver linings in the COVID-19 crisis, according to research by KPMG.  

Among these possible silver linings, female leaders see the pandemic as a potential equalizer for a more inclusive workforce, cite making a positive impact on the world as their top motivator, are embracing digital like never before, and are having improved communications with employees. 

Gender equality and sustainability

According to KPMG’s Global Female Leaders Outlook COVID-19 Special Edition, which secured insight from 700 female leaders across 52 countries, 62% of global female leaders agree that remote working has caused their company to make significant changes to policy, and in a positive way for female employees. 

Furthermore, 41% of female leaders believe the progress already made on diversity and inclusion pre-pandemic won’t slow post-pandemic. 

“While it’s true that the crisis is having a disproportional effect on women, it also appears that the pandemic may prove to be a catalyst for gender equality over the mid to long term,” said Angelika Huber-Strasser, Head of Corporates, KPMG in Germany. “According to our respondents, the crisis may ultimately create new opportunities for women as a result of improved digital communication, advances in technology and changes in stakeholder expectations.”

According to Nhlamu Diomu, KPMG’s Global Head of People, an environment where talent risk remains a top priority for CEOs, “being inclusive will have a significant positive influence on the success of companies and economies alike”.  

Diomu points out that it is the leaders who are able to drive flexibility, build inclusive cultures and embed a purpose-led, values-driven environment in the post-pandemic world who “will be more attractive to top female talent”. 

In fact, the topical issue of gender equality along with climate change are those that female leaders feel the most pressure from their stakeholders to act upon, with 42% believing that measures their company has taken recently to fight discrimination and racism have been powerful and nearly half (48%) admitting that their response to the pandemic has caused their focus to shift towards sustainability. 

Digital transformation positive for female leaders

The most important change to come from the crisis, according to female leaders, is the proliferation and increased use of digital communication and collaboration tools with more than half (58%) of female managers believing their personal communication with employees has improved during the crisis. 

Alongside this, the digital transformation that has ensued due to enforced remote working has delivered a growing talent pool, which many female leaders see as a catalyst for gender equality. 

Most of the female leaders surveyed (80%) said the digital transformation of their businesses had accelerated during the pandemic, with the biggest advancements in the digital transformation of operations, where 30% say that progress has put them years ahead of where they would have otherwise expected to be today. 

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Jun 11, 2021

G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve

3 min
Business Chief delves into what the G7 is and represents and what its 2021 summit hopes to achieve, in terms of sustainability and global trade

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration. 


Who are the G7?

The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like. 

The merry band comprises:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.


Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda. 


When was the ‘G’ formed?

Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s. 


Why does the G7 exist?

At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted. 


The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability. 


It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations. 


Where is the 2021 G7 summit?

This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall. 

What will be discussed this year? 

After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”


The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values. 


According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.” 


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