There is a common Western belief of being more progressive than the East on many subjects, including the subject of women. However, Asian businesses are now making us question this belief, with power women flourishing in their own business pursuits.
An article in The Guardian stated that there are more men named John at the helm of USA and UK’s biggest companies compared to all women. This statistic highlights the starkness of the gender divide within the western corporate world; however, in Asia, the story of the power women is quite different. More women are climbing the rank of the business world and are widely being recognised for their achievements.
In Asian countries such as India, Thailand and South Korea, the retail sector is dominated by women. Taking China as an example, despite the economic slowdown, powerful women such as Lucy Peng and Ma Xiuhui are becoming highly accredited in business. Peng, the cofounder of Alibaba, and Xiuhui, the founder of Opple LED lighting, are featured on the Forbes Rich List and are celebrated as some of the most powerful women in the world.
Previously, many Asian countries have prevented women in the corporate world owing to religion, familial and sociocultural customs. The limited education for many young women led to limiting opportunities for their later lives. However, the gender bias that drove the majority of these restrictions is slowly dissolving worldwide. The results of this in Asia are incredibly promising, with women achieving their ambitions. This leaves us, in the West, of great examples of power women of business.
Many companies have provided incentives to help women pursue executive roles within the workplace. For example, ICICI Bank, based in India, encourage women to take their young children on business trips with a carer- all at the expense of the bank. This obviously makes a mother’s life much easier, and allows her to balance home-life and work-life. ICICI Bank also allow parents to have flexible hours and the option of working from home. All of these incentives encourage women executives to take on the boardroom owing to them having more flexibility to do so.
An important factor for encouraging women into the work place is about having a workable policy and the managerial ability to implement the policy. The success of these policies should include leadership programmes that identifies and encourages young female leaders at the early stages of their careers.
By offering these opportunities of further enhancement training and leadership training, the ethos of the company becomes an inclusive organisation this makes for a comfortable work environment with everyone feeling valued and respected irrespective of their gender.
Companies who take such strides to accommodate all employees and to make a well-rounded working environment should be praised as we all work towards equality for women in the workplace.