How The US Ranks For Female Leadership Opportunities

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Created by digital bank N26, The Female Opportunity Index is an analysis of gender equality in 100 countries that considers advancements in female leadership within government, corporations, STEM and entrepreneurship, as well as success enablers like access to education and parental leave.

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Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The Pandemic's Effect On Inequalities

The pandemic has shone a light on many existing inequalities—not least between men and women in the workplace and beyond. Estimates suggest that globally, women are more likely to have lost their job due to COVID-19 as compared to men, and have taken on the majority of childcare and education at home while schools were closed. Added to this is the fact that 70% of health workers around the world are female.

Despite these enormous challenges, amazing female heads of government have been leading the world in the way they’ve managed the pandemic, as well as incredible women who continue to take the lead towards gender equality while determining their future both personally and professionally.

To champion change and explore this topic further, N26 decided to commission a study looking into workplace achievements and the factors that drive female independence. While there is still much work to be done, the results celebrate the countries that encourage female opportunity and where women are thriving in governmental leadership, management, entrepreneurship and more.

female leadership

Countries That Foster The Strongest Female Leadership Opportunities And Achievements

The index began by selecting 100 countries around the world, across all continents, with comparable data on women in the workplace. To establish the level of gender parity from the very top, it first investigated how many years a country has been governed by a woman since 1970, as well as the total number of women in governmental or parliamentary positions. Next, it looked at women in managerial positions, as well as data around female entrepreneurs in each country, to determine which nations help to foster the strongest female leadership opportunities and achievements.

The research then turned to the number of women in the typically male-dominated STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It focused not only on those actively studying, but also on the percentage of women actually working in that field after graduation. Next, the average salary and gender wage gap in each country were explored.


The data was complemented by investigating female access to education as an important indicator and enabler of opportunity, as well as legislation such as a woman’s right to divorce, workplace discrimination laws and more. Finally, a country’s attitude towards starting a family and how that interacts with work is a clear expression of gender parity, so the study included the total days of maternity leave allowed in each country. The total score takes into consideration all of these data points to determine which countries are most successfully leveling the playing field, and which still have some way to go to improve women’s access to equal opportunities.

“For many women, financial independence is the only means through which they can determine how they want to live, and yet it often comes at the expense of being the primary care-giver and having the lion’s share of domestic duties at home. Coupled with the gender salary wage gap that continues to be a huge impediment to female earnings, there are still many more obstacles for women who want to achieve the level of financial success that men take for granted,” commented Adrienne Gormley, COO of N26. “We conducted this study because we at N26 truly believe that women should have the same opportunities and freedom to be as financially independent as men, and this starts with having equal opportunity to be self-sufficient. The results show that women are still making incredible strides around the world as leaders in government, research and the corporate world despite the uphill battles they face. It’s up to us all to work together towards removing the unnecessary barriers to female self-sufficiency and achievement, and as a bank, we hope to do so in our own small way.”