A new survey by researchers found that women are forced out of chief executive positions more than a third of the time, while only a quarter of men in similar positions suffer the same fate.
The research took place at Strategy And, formerly known as Booz and Company. The precarious position of women in the highest echelons of power - illustrated last week by the dramatic departures of Jill Abramson and Natalie Nougayrede as the editors of the New York Times and Le Monde - remains a stubborn fact of corporate life.
According to the authors of the 2013 Chief Executive Study, women's higher rate of failure is not because they are placed in more challenging roles or set up to fail.
The research looked at CEO turnover over the past decade at the top of the world's 2,500 largest public companies and found that, while women represent only 3 percent of new CEOs, they are often forced out of top jobs sooner, the Guardian reported.
The report finds that men and women are broadly comparable in every area -except one: "Women are more often outsiders," co-author Ken Favaro said.
"So they're more vulnerable. They don't know the organisation. They can't diagnose the problems as quickly and don't understand the culture or how to get it to work for them - and they aren't necessarily given more time to deliver," Favaro said.
While the proportion of women in the CEO class has doubled to nearly 4 percent in the past five years, a figure that the study's authors believe could rise to 33 percent by 2040, the sex norms of global corporate leadership remain stubbornly hard to shift.
With a smaller internal leadership pool to choose from, companies hiring female executives from outside are also likely to be less tolerant of shortcomings than they are with executives groomed in-house. And external CEOs are seven times more likely to be dismissed after a short tenure.