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Women & Tech: How Chinese Tech Giants Advocate for Women Empowerment

There is almost no such international organization, government or business which doesn’t talk about women empowerment. Despite being constantly discussed, the issues of gender inequality are still common, especially at work or while applying for the jobs.

Great improvements can be seen for women in top management. As Hurun Research Institute suggests, China is now home to two-thirds of the world’s top women billionaires, which is four times more than in the US. But what about staff’s other female employees?

Chinese tech giants, such as Alibaba, ByteDance, Baidu, Tencent, Huawei are world-wide businesses and are taking part in shaping the future for women. It means they should pave the way and set a model for other enterprises. So, what are they actually doing for women empowerment?

Jack Ma: a champion for women empowerment

A high proportion of employees and senior executives in Alibaba is female. Company’s various public welfare activities aimed at women. Why is Alibaba so focused on women?

In his talk at WTO conference in 2019, Jack Ma “revealed” the secret of Alibaba’s success. As Ma mentioned, the secret is company’s female employees: 49% of employees of the e-commerce giant are women, while women executives account for 30% of the staff.

At Alibaba’s Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship

"Alibaba must set a red line," said Jack Ma in his speech. “The number of female employees just can’t be below 33%. This is the KPI for our company to continue to be the leader.”

Alibaba is also known as an initiator of Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship, held every year.

DiDi: women-led, for women

President of DiDi Chuxing Jean Liu is one of the most well-known advocates for women in Chinese tech industry.

In 2017, DiDi became a pioneer in launching a career development and personal growth program for female professionals called DiDi Women’s Network, thus pushing the attention to female employees’ needs and emphasizing their achievements in company’s success.

First, this was just one of a range of measures to improve the company’s operations, but further focus on women transformed into DiDi’s concept as an inclusive company which prioritize women’s empowerment and equally treats both men and women.

DiDi’s President Jean Liu – the first women advocate in Chinese tech

Besides the Network, its milestone in women empowerment among tech giants of China, DiDi later created a range of additional programs such as Female Leadership Program, Female Driver Care Initiative, Women Mindfulness Program and even a Family Day. The company also implements work-from-home policy when mothers don’t need to go to office one day a week.

With recent China’s crackdown on big tech and DiDi’s IPO, the largest ride-hailing app saw a 27% plunge in its share prices, while Jean Liu was left behind the list of billionaires. Regulators removed DiDi from downloads and it’s not accessible in China if you are a new user. For now, it’s not very clear how these measures will affect DiDi’s advocating for women, but that certainly will influence its image, though probably not till that much extent, as old users still continue to use the app.

Unleashing the potential of women in tech: case of Huawei

Being in the forefront of technological innovations, Huawei has always been prioritizing talents’ development. As technology industry is still not that easy for women to access, Huawei is trying to create ways to foster female talents and make them seen.

Though Huawei rolled out women empowerment programs not that long ago, they are abundant and involve female audience worldwide, not only in China. The beginning of the pandemic became the pivot point for Huawei.

On last year International Women’s Day, Huawei officially launched Global Women Developers Program with the goal to create world-changing innovations and inspire more women to join tech.

2021 Huawei Women Developers Conference, Guangzhou

Considering the influence of pandemic on studies, in December of 2020, Huawei Ireland in partnership with Dublin University of Technology unveiled its new "TECH4HER" scholarship, which aims to support female students in STEM.

Girls at the training within "TECH4HER" program

Huawei has also launched a "Women in Technology" initiative to share the stories of company’s female employees. At the same time, Huawei hosts women's summits to speak up for women in technology.

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