A Call to Action, and Platform to Enable Female Executive Search

CEO Worldwide & Female Executive Search
A message from France Dequilbec, MD Female Executive Search, founded by INSEAD alum Patrick Mataix

“The majority of the women I have interviewed over the past 2 years testify how difficult it is for them to access top level management and/or boards. There is no room for error and they had to continuously outperform their male colleagues. They feel they have to constantly justify their position, their responsibilities and their salary.

The ambition alone is not enough. It’s not even enough if they have better academic grades, work harder and perform better than their male colleagues. At the end of the month their pay cheque proves the inequality of perception by a staggering gender pay gap of above 20%.

A woman’s early career advancement still has significant challenges – if they are young, the fact alone that they could get pregnant puts them in a back row seat, then if they do have children towards mid-career, “back row” becomes their middle name – and when their kids are grown and they are 50+… well, do I need to continue?

I have also observed that some female executives have adapted themselves to the “Dominant Leadership Model” in order to be accepted by their male colleagues, even if the soft skills and emotional intelligence are now recognized criteria and added value to businesses.

Companies appear to be hiring more women into senior roles, but there is still work to be done…

Despite the evidence that equality at the senior level improves the bottom line, a disparity remains in representation at the C-suite level, across all sectors. However companies appear to be hiring more women into senior roles as attitudes to gender balance at senior level shift.

The results we obtained with our latest survey, targeting C-level executives and HR professionals across the US, Europe and Asia, revealed that 40% of applications for senior management roles now come from women, with well over half of businesses having hired more than one female executive in the last 12 months.

Companies often say there is lack of female C-level candidates and this why they have difficulties in recruiting the right female candidate. To us at Female Executive Search, this does NOT sound right at all.

Expertise and legitimacy

As expert in international executive recruitment, Female Executive Search offers a dedicated recruitment platform designed to drive boardroom equality. Its purpose is to connect recruiters with quality, vetted female executives, empowering women leaders and businesses that value female leadership.

INSEAD alum Patrick Mataix, founder of CEO Worldwide and I established “Female Executive Search” to demonstrate the value of diversity for the good of business, and the benefit of the global economy. It was therefore a natural and obvious step to launch this service, dedicated to promoting and placing female executives. It is high time to break the taboo and to promote and show the talent of women within business.

At CEO Worldwide, we have been building a community of 18 000 vetted international candidates for almost 20 years, the percentage of our female candidates have deeply increased. Every day female C-level candidates register with us and we are committed to promoting them and the advancement of female executives in senior positions.

They can now demonstrate their professional track record via innovative tools such as video. We help them to build their personal branding and get more digital exposure, and last but not least, to give then more confidence and trust in themselves.

There is power in women leadership.”

Now, men and women can jump on board and help CEO Worldwide to support the advancement of female executives in senior positions by utilizing our database:


Women, please join now our community of vetted female International executives register TODAY:



Gender and COVID-19: Let’s Make Better Decisions

By Katarina Uherova Hasbani & INSEAD IWiB Global Executive Committee

10 April 2020. 1,484,811 recorded cases. 85,538 deaths. 185 countries affected.  That is the sobering, current statistics of the COVID-19 outbreak. We need all brains in the business to innovate our way of the current crisis. Addressing the gender dimension of the outbreak will be critical for making sure we collectively, as a global community of  leaders, develop an informed view and better decision-making. Let’s do things better now. 

Gender statistics are not systematically available. The world is in a fire-fighting mode and resources are scarce. Some available data indicates that women are less affected than men in terms of number of deaths. Although, the good news ends there. Overall, women could be affected  by the ongoing crisis disproportionately compared to men. Women are already starting from a position of inequality in terms of their economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. As a reminder, the world’s top 10 countries based on the World Economic Forum – Gender Gap Report 2020, achieve only a score from 0.87 to 0.78 where 1 is full gender equality. 

This article outlines some of the gender dimensions that have been raised to the surface since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of the year. 

  • Women are on the frontline of the healthcare workforce treating COVID-19 across the world. As an example, in the US, women hold 76% of healthcare jobs. For registered nurses, this number could be as high as 85%. Their lives, health and families are disproportionately impacted given the high spread of virus among treating personnel in
    hospital. Available data from Italy shows that 9% of the country’s COVID-19 cases are nurses.
  • Women are shouldering more responsibility at home with closure of schools in Asia, Europe and most recently in the US. They are also taking responsibility for caring for the  elderly who have been encouraged to stay home ahead of country-wide lockdown measures given their health vulnerability. This limits women’s availability to continue working in their daily jobs over short to medium term. 
  • Women and their children are subject to increased probability of domestic violence with nowhere to escape. The situation was acknowledged for example by France’s Secretary of State for Gender Equality, Marlène Schiappa who also pointed at reduced capacity of facilities that usually support victims of domestic abuse.
  • Pregnant women are faced with concerns about their medical treatment during pregnancy and birth with increased strain on medical facilities across the world. The risk of transmission of coronavirus from mother to the child is not fully understood, which adds to the uncertainty. It is encouraging that several cases from Singapore indicate that mothers do not pass the disease on to their newborns.
  • All of the impacts are compounded by the situations of economic hardship, when families, women and men alike will lose their jobs and livelihoods. The situation will be serious in both developed and developing countries and exacerbated in situations where governments do not provide social security support. 


We will continue to monitor the developments and call for action on the gender dimension of the COVID-19 outbreak. Get in touch if you want to raise awareness about your activities around gender impacts of COVID-19 or call for volunteers. 

Contact [email protected] or reach out to Katarina Uherova Hasbani directly at [email protected]

End Notes:

1)Statista, Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Germany in 2020, by gender, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105512/coronavirus-covid-19-deaths-by-gender-germany/, viewed on 28 March 2020. 

2) World Economic Forum,  Mind the 100 Year, Gap,https://www.weforum.org/reports/gender-gap-2020-report-100-years-pay-equality, viewed on 28 March 2020.

3) We use information from COVID-19: the gendered impacts of the outbreak by the Members of the Gender and COVID-19 Working Group, which is available on The Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30526-2/fulltext (viewed on 28 March 2020) and other referenced open sources in this article. Data and analysis is scarce and continues to develop. This article is based on open source research by the author.

4) The US Census Bureau, Women Hold 76% of All Health Care Jobs, Gaining in Higher-Paying, Occupationshttps://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/08/your-health-care-in-womens-hands.html, viewed on 28 March 2020.

5) Nursing Times, Nurses among confirmed deaths from Covid-19 around the world, https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/coronavirus/nurses-among-confirmed-deaths-from-covid-19-around-the-world-20-03-2020/, viewed on 28 March 2020.

6) RFI, ‘Not just a health issue’: How Covid-19 is quietly eroding women’s rights, http://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20200326-coronavirus-domestic-violence-gender-perspectives, viewed on 28 March 2020.

7) UNPF, Women, girls, health workers must not be overlooked in global COVID-19 response, https://www.unfpa.org/press/women-girls-health-workers-must-not-be-overlooked-global-covid-19-response, viewed on 28 March 2020.

8) Asian Scientist, Pregnant Mums Unlikely To Transmit COVID-19 To Newborns, https://www.asianscientist.com/2020/03/health/covid-19-pregnant-mothers-newborn/, viewed on 28 March 2020.

Up-and-Coming Women in PE to Know: Kim Hruby

November 19, 2019

The interview below is part of a yearlong effort by McGuireWoods to profile up-and-coming women leaders in private equity (PE). This profile series complements our existing Women Leaders in Private Equity profile series, which will continue throughout 2019. To recommend a rising star for a future interview, email Amber Walsh at [email protected].

Hruby joined Council Capital in 2016 to lead the outbound marketing efforts. A top development leader in the healthcare sector, she successfully uses her 25-plus years of experience to educate business owners regarding PE and how their ultimate vision can be achieved. Hruby focuses on building executive-level relationships and a network that results in identifying partnerships that support the firm’s mission to invest in companies on the right side of healthcare change.



Women are not a common sight in most executive suites. The number of females in C-level positions is surprisingly low.

The problem is compounded by the fact that women rarely hold the roles that lead to the executive suite – even though research has shown that when women participate in leadership, companies tend to have better performance and return on investment.

Yet, there are very few women in management roles, and the number of female managers decreases the further up the hierarchy you go.

The Current State of Women in Leadership Roles

While women occupy 60% of junior positions, they are sorely underrepresented as you move up the corporate hierarchy. Only 50% of middle management and just 20% of senior management are female. In the C-suite, women have roughly 10% of the roles there and the percentage of females in executive roles is even lower. According to Pew Research, only 5.1% of executives at S&P 1500 companies are female – and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.


“Invisible Women” wins the 2019 Business Book of the Year Award

December 4, 2019The winner of the 2019 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award is an investigation into how a gender gap in data perpetuates disadvantages for women across the world. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, by journalist and activist Caroline Criado Perez, delves into the ways data collection systematically ignores half the world’s population.

McKinsey global managing partner Kevin Sneader and Financial Times editor Lionel Barber presented the award on Tuesday, December 3, at the Park Hyatt Hotel in New York. Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne sat down with Barber for the event’s keynote interview.