Most young Canadians picture a man when they think of a CEO, survey says

The majority of Canadian youth agree on the qualities associated with a leader, but only 10 per cent picture a woman when they think of a CEO.

These findings were published in an online survey conducted by Nanos for Plan International Canada.

The study, which included responses from males and females between 14 and 24 years of age, explored youth perceptions of leadership and revealed gender-related stereotypes still pose barriers to leadership for young women.

Canada’s youth recognized confidence as a top quality for leaders along with intelligence and being organized. While 75 per cent of girls and young women said they feel they are capable of leading, only 55 per cent of young women would describe themselves as confident and 81 per cent said they occasionally doubt themselves on having what it takes to be a good leader.

The survey also found that almost six in ten girls occasionally feel pressure to change their behaviour in order to achieve leadership aspirations. Male study participants were also more likely to describe girls as caring (54 per cent) or emotional (53 per cent) – qualities they did not associate with leadership – in comparison to confident (32 per cent).

Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO of Plan International Canada said in a press release that data for the second year in a row has shown that young women across the country are ready and able to lead, but that perceptions are holding them back.

“Although girls are confident in themselves, we need to change the status quo so they have the unwavering support in all areas of their lives that enables achieving their leadership aspirations, whatever they may be.”

Participants were interviewed online from Sept. 15- 24, 2019. Results were statistically checked and weighted by age using the latest Census information.