Three tips for supporting women’s career advancement in private equity

March 8, 2024

At MidEuropa, we recognise the importance of fostering gender diversity and empowering  women to reach senior positions within the historically male-dominated arena of private equity. As a member and sponsor of Level20, we are committed to driving this change internally.

Recent data from Level20 shows that while the number of women in entry-level roles in private equity has risen to 24%, there remains a decline in their representation at mid to senior levels, plummeting to as low as 10%. This drop-off can be attributed to a multitude of factors, including an unequal share of caregiving responsibilities and domestic duties that women often bear, alongside cultural and organisational pressures.

At MidEuropa, we are dedicated to implementing strategies that promote gender diversity, empower women to excel, and foster a culture of equity and inclusion across our firm and the broader industry.

We wanted to share our insights into how the private equity space can better attract, promote and retain talented women.


  1. Champion diverse talent through sponsorship and networks

Private equity firms can play a pivotal role in supporting women through advocacy programmes and by assigning sponsors to help increase invisibility and promote diverse talent. While sponsorship is unstructured within the industry, standardising the process and having leaders advocate for individual colleagues is crucial to support women in junior positions to achieve promotions and remain in senior roles for longer.

Additionally, many publications support awards for women in private equity. Nominate your peers and encourage women you admire to apply. 


  1. Cultivate inclusive cultures, including for parents

According to the Centre for Progressive Policy, nearly half of working-age women are providing on average 45 hours of unpaid childcare every week, while 25% of men provide 17 hours. However, it’s not just childcare responsibilities that impact working women disproportionately. A survey carried out for What Women Want found that one in five women reduce their working hours and 830,000 are unable to work entirely because of caring responsibilities for other adults.

Level20’s 2023 ACCELERATE report recommends that private equity firms formalise and encourage maternity, paternity, and shared parental leave. Actively engaging both genders on these policies and having senior leaders encourage and role-model taking leave can level the playing field, enabling women to pursue their careers with greater balance and support.


  1. Ensure transparency in promotions and rewards system, and address information gaps.

Transparency on promotion and reward systems, coupled with clearly defined role expectations and competency frameworks, are essential in supporting women’s career progression and retention within firms. Managers can contribute significantly by offering timely and constructive feedback, guiding women on the development pathways necessary to reach their next career milestones.


Something really powerful in the industry is to have examples. By having women in senior positions in your firm, you can see that being a woman in a senior role is achievable, and you can begin to envision yourself there.” – Valentina, Investment Executive at MidEuropa