Women making gains but more work needed at the top

Editor:嫖酸輩
Source:chinadaily.com.cn
Updated:2017-06-29 09:00:36

  Editor's notes:In a modern society where women can be business executives, media tycoons or anything else they set their mind to, why are women still under-represented in the senior ranks? What does it really take for women to rise to the top of their field?

  A group of prominent players in the politics and business community gathered in Beijing for the 2017 Women Leadership Forum on June 26.

  Here are some of the participants' views on the issue.

  Empowerment

  Julie L. Kavanagh

  Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy Beijing

Women making gains but more work needed at the top

  Julie L. Kavanagh delivers a keynote speech at the 2017 Women Leadership Forum on June 26 in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

  Historically, diplomacy has been the preserve of men. Today, diplomatic leadership roles still heavily skewed towards males, but that doesn't mean females aren't making any progress.

  Taking the United States as an example, women made up only 4.8 percent of US Foreign Service officers in the 1970s. Nowadays, more women than ever are serving in the foreign policy arena. As Kavanagh points out that women accounted for 36 percent of 158 ambassadorships in 2016.

  "While women's political status has definitely improved since, there's still a long way to go," she said.

  Citing a report released by McKinsey Global Institute in 2015, Kavanagh said that if women performed an identical labor role to their male counterparts, the world's GDP would skyrocket to $28 trillion in 2025.

  Business

  Wei Sun Christianson

  Asia Pacific Co-CEO &China CEO, Morgan Stanley

Women making gains but more work needed at the top

  Wei Sun Christianson shares her view about gender diversity at the 2017 Women Leadership Forum on June 26 in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

  Technology ranks among the bottom sectors in terms of gender diversity. Yet the research team of the world's top investment bank Morgan Stanley found that tech firms that make an effort to increase the number of women, particularly in corporate settings, could generate significantly better returns than their more male-dominated competitors.

  "Our company has a long history of supporting women to take on leadership roles," Christianson said. "Last year, we launched a project to create and support female role models in the technology industry. It serves as a platform to bring both industry and mentors together so the aspiring female technologists can better understand that they can also be successful leaders in tech."

  The project has helped almost 200 female employees find their place in the high-tech world.

  Creative Industries

  Tim Payne

  Senior Partner &Head of Asia, Brunswick

Women making gains but more work needed at the top

  Tim Payne speaks at the 2017 Women Leadership Forum on June 26 in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

  "Despite a growing broad recognition of the need to provide more opportunities for women in creative industries, such as film and media, the actual statistics haven't improved in recent years," Payne says.

  Women made up just 7 percent of all directors working on the top 250 US films in 2016, according to a report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University earlier this year. That figure represents a decline of two percentage points from 2015's 9 percent.

  "Discrimination against women in media has resulted in a high turnover and a vacuum of coverage for women-related stories. Among Hong Kong's entertainment magazines, nearly one third of coverage is linked to females', particular negative ones," Payne said.

  "Joint efforts must be done to dismiss this traditional challenge."

  Entrepreneurship

  Liu Nan

  Founder &CEO, Mia (infant care online retailer)

Women making gains but more work needed at the top

  Liu Nan makes a speech about her entrepreneurship at the 2017 Women Leadership Forum on June 26 in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

  More and more women are becoming entrepreneurial and going after new business opportunities.

  Liu said she tried hard to ignore her staff's gender as she led a diverse team. She also believed that mixed-gender teams could produce better performance than those staffed only by male or female.

  At the beginning of 2015, about 80 percent of Mia's senior executive team were female. Later in November 2015, about 60 percent of the team were male.

Women making gains but more work needed at the top

  Chinese actress Tao Hong talks to encourage philanthropy at the 2017 Women Leadership Forum on June 26 in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]