Category: Business & Economics
Asia’s failure on workplace gender equality means it could take over a century for the region to close the economic gap, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). But despite the sluggish pace of change, more female leaders are emerging in business and politics, acting as potential trail blazers for the next generation.
The WEF’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2016 ” highlighted the wide gender gap that remains even in Asia’s advanced economies, despite governmental efforts such as Japan’s “Womenomics” to change longstanding corporate and social practices.
Globally, the report found that progress toward economic parity has slowed, with the 59 percent gap its widest since 2008. The best performers overall were Iceland, Finland, and Norway, although Rwanda (fifth) and Nicaragua (10th) showed that developing economies can also outperform in female empowerment.
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For East Asia and the Pacific region however, the gap stood at 68 percent, with a large distance between more gender-equal societies such as seventh-ranked the Philippines and ninth-placed New Zealand and its laggards, including economic heavyweights China (99th), Japan (111th) and South Korea (116th).
“The sluggish pace of change in these larger nations in part explains why current projections suggest the region will not close its economic gap for another 111 years,” the Switzerland-based organization said.
Laos (43rd) ranked ahead of Australia (46th) and Singapore (55th), while Thailand placed 71st, India 87th and Indonesia 88th, with Pakistan coming second-last overall at 143rd, ahead of last-placed Yemen.
Despite Womenomics, Japan recorded a “significant widening of the gender gap for professional and technical workers, adversely affecting its ranking despite further progress in reducing the gender gap in tertiary education enrollment and women’s representation among legislators, senior officials and managers, and in improving wage equality for similar work,” the report said.
Neighboring South Korea recorded “a large improvement on its gender gap in professional and technical workers,” and for political empowerment, which almost offset a decline in estimated earned income by females and worsening perceptions of wage equality for similar work.
China posted a small drop in wage equality and showed a continued gender gap in secondary school enrollment, as well as remaining “the world’s lowest-ranked country with regard to the gender gap in its sex ratio at birth.”
Meanwhile, India reported progress on closing the gap for wage equality and in educational attainment, but saw a worsening of women’s estimated earned income and kept its world’s third-lowest ranking on the health and survival measurement.
For Asia, the economic imperative of closing the gender gap is shown by estimates that it could add $526 billion to Japan’s gross domestic product, while China could see a $2.5 trillion GDP increase by 2020, according to the report.
Limiting women’s access to labor markets is estimated to cost East Asia and the Pacific up to $47 billion a year, while gender gaps in education are estimated to cost up to $30 billion annually, the report said.
The WEF pointed to a “range of evidence to suggest that women’s political leadership and wider economic participation are correlated.” Female talent remains “one of the most under-utilized business resources, either squandered through lack of progression or untapped from the outset,” a particular waste given that companies with senior female executive leadership are estimated to outperform on measures such as return on equity.
The Philippines leads the way in promoting women to senior executive posts, ranking fourth in an International Labor Organization survey with women accounting for 48 percent of all managers. However, China ranked 85th, with 17 percent, while Japan and South Korea came in at 96th and 97th respectively, due to barriers such as “housework, male-oriented corporate cultures, and a lack of female role models,” the Nikkei Asian Review reported .
New Female Leaders
But despite Asia’s failures, a number of female political and business leaders have emerged recently to challenge stereotypes.
Forbes magazine’s 2016 survey of the world’s “100 Most Powerful Women ” was led by European and North American leaders. For Asia though, political leaders placed highly, with South Korean President Park Geun-hye ranked 12th, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen placed 17th and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi ranked 26th.
Elsewhere, New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Helen Clark ranked 22nd for her philanthropic efforts, while Indian banker Arundhati Bhattacharya placed 25th and Singapore’s Ho Ching, chief executive of government-owned investment company Temasek Holdings, took the 30th spot.
In Japanese politics, Yuriko Koike was elected Tokyo’s first female governor in July elections. The independent-minded leader has vowed to make “major reforms” to the nation’s capital after the failure of her two immediate predecessors, who both resigned over money scandals before the end of their terms.
Notably, Koike has challenged plans to move the city’s Tsukiji fish market to a new venue over soil contamination concerns, while she has also taken on the international sporting establishment in a bid to curb a blowout in spending over the Tokyo Olympics.
In another boost for Japan’s female leadership, Renho Murata was elected head of the opposition Democratic party in September, while Tomomi Inada was appointed defense minister a month earlier.
Other Asian female political leaders to break the mold include Taiwan’s Tsai, the nation’s first female president. Unlike other leading female politicians such as the leaders of South Korea and Myanmar, Tsai was not born into a political family and has proved willing to change the status quo, taking the nation on a more independent course concerning its China ties than her predecessors.
Asian female entrepreneurs are also claiming a place in the spotlight too, including Hooi Ling Tan, co-founder of Malaysia-based ride-hailing mobile service GrabTaxi, and Singapore-based Cynthia Siantar, co-founder of financial monitoring app Call Levels.
Singapore has been rated the top city for female entrepreneurs in the region and fifth-best overall, according to Dell’s “Women Entrepreneurs Cities Index .” The 25-city survey also ranked Sydney eighth, Beijing 13th, Hong Kong 14th, Taipei 15th, Shanghai 16th, Tokyo 17th, Seoul 20th, Delhi 22nd and Jakarta 24th.
“Innovation and job creation by women entrepreneurs is critical for a thriving global economy, yet our research shows some cities and countries are doing far more than others to encourage and support this important subset of the startup community,” said Karen Quintos, Dell’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
For a region still struggling to overcome barriers to gender equality, the new leaders offer hope that the so-called “rice paper ceiling” can be successfully challenged, without waiting 111 years.
Of all the styles and types of leadership, something called authentic leadership seems the easiest to achieve – after all, who wouldn’t want to be, and come across as, the genuine article?
More than twenty years ago leadership guru Warren Bennis wrote that the essence of leadership is “becoming yourself.” As he also wrote that leaders are made, not born, the work-in-progress theory applies here.
Bennis, Kevin Cashman and Bill George are among the leadership experts who’ve been talking and writing about the characteristics and significance of leading authentically; at its core, it involves possessing high emotional intelligence.
Behaviors include self awareness (the power Cashman calls of being real rather than having to be right), listening to hear and connect, living out of one’s values and integrity, and valuing others, bringing people together and inspiring them to create value around shared purpose. George talks about authentic leadership as being essential for the 21 st century leader.
Blake Mycoskie . founder and “Chief Shoe Giver” of TOMS . is one of many leaders who seem to fit that description. He is focused on building a culture where employees are valued, helped to perform to their fullest ability, and are engaged in shared purpose to create value for others.
The inevitable question: is authentic leadership sustainable and does it make a difference? After all, the memory of the leadership of self involvement, from Wall Street and other sectors fueling the economic meltdown, is still so vivid. Is it possible that a 21 st century leadership can emerge that involves self awareness, emotional intelligence, and authenticity?
Betsy Myers believes it is. In her new book "Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You" she tells the story of a 2006 conference held at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where the common sentiment among the dozens of pre-eminent CEOs, thought leaders and academics participating (including Bennis, George, John Kotter . Howard Shultz . Jack Welch . Les Wexner . Noel Tichy . and Admiral Thad Allen ) was that a new leadership of heart and mind was emerging. The paradigm emphasized authenticity, collaboration and caring, she said.
Myers indicated that the conference confirmed three core beliefs that her experience shared: 1) leadership is a function of self knowledge and honest self reflection; 2) the strength of leaders comes from their willingness to ask questions; and 3) leaders draw their power less from what they know and more from how they make people around them feel.
"Leadership is about how you make people feel – about you, about the project or work you’re doing together, and especially about themselves ,” she writes. Currently founding director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University . Myers was executive director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership and also served as senior adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and to President Bill Clinton.
The gems in her book are her stories (personal, political and drawn from business) that illustrate her seven core ideas: authenticity, connection, respect, clarity, collaboration, learning, and courage. They form the roadmap in the leadership journey she describes, which essentially becomes a journey in developing one’s emotional intelligence.
The word “authentic” can be problematic if we let it. It invites the best that is possible as well as becoming trite if overused and undernourished. When it falls prey to posturing it becomes a fad . consider the self proclamations by celebrities, politicians, and online dater wannabes professing “I’ve always tried to just be authentic and real,” (Anderson Cooper) or “I’m authentic” (Michele Bachman) with all kinds of variations in between.
What saves “authenticity” from death by posers is that it isn’t about what leaders say about themselves; it is what the stories told about them demonstrate, about their actions, conversations, connecting, how they handle mistakes, their openness to feedback and disagreement in creating solutions, and their capacity to inspire followers.
Authenticity is essentially tied to a leader’s capacity for self awareness in that moment. It is an organic process. It has to be fed continually by a leader’s willingness to learn about himself/herself and the world.
It is a leadership driven by one’s belief that sustainable business success is built by wanting to deserve and bring about trust, knowing the impact that trust has on the relationships and value created.
Given the challenges that have launched the 21 st century, leaders face pressures and demands that will be met so much more effectively if people feel heard, if connections are made at both the level of head and heart, if shared purpose can be created, if trust can be established: all sustainable elements of authentic leadership.
Gael O’Brien is a Business Ethics Magazine columnist. Gael is a thought leader on building leadership, trust, and reputation and writes The Week in Ethics.
People often ask us how they can become more creative. Through our work at the global design and innovation firm IDEO and David’s work at Stanford University’s d.school, we’ve helped thousands of executives and students develop breakthrough ideas and products, from Apple’s first computer mouse to next-generation surgical tools for Medtronic to fresh brand strategies for the North Face in China. This 2012 HBR article outlines some of the approaches we use, as does our new book, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. One of our top recommendations? Practice being creative. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Of course, exercising your mind can sometimes feel more daunting than exercising your muscles. So we’ve developed ten creativity challenges to jump-start your practice. Some you can do by yourself; some require a team. Some seem incredibly simple; others you might find more challenging. Three are presented below; we hope you’ll try at least one.
CREATIVITY CHALLENGE #1:PUSH YOURSELF TO THINK DIVERGENTLY
Mindmaps are a powerful way to overcome fear of the blank page, look for patterns, explore a subject, come up with truly innovative ideas, record their evolution so you can trace back in search of new insights, and communicate your thought processes to others. While lists help you capture the thoughts you already have, mindmaps help to generate wildly new ones. They are extremely versatile, and we use them all the time, not only at work but also at home, for example, to come up with dinner party ideas. (See illustration.)
PARTICIPANTS: Usually a solo activity
TIME: 15-60 minutes
SUPPLIES: Paper (the bigger the better) and pen
CREATIVITY CHALLENGE #2:JUMP-START AN IDEATION SESSION
We learned this 30 Circles exercise from David’s mentor, Bob McKim. It’s a great warm-up and also highlights the balance between fluency (the speed and quantity of ideas) and flexibility (how different or divergent they are).
TOOL: 30 Circles
PARTICIPANTS: Solo or groups of any size
TIME: 3 minutes, plus discussion
SUPPLIES: Pen and a piece of paper (per person) with 30 blank circles on it of approximately the same size.
CREATIVITY CHALLENGE #3:LEARN FROM OBSERVING HUMAN BEHAVIOR
You’ve gone into the field in search of knowledge, meeting people on their home turf, watching and listening intently. Now synthesize all that data by creating an “empathy map”.
TOOL: Empathy Map
PARTICIPANTS: Solo or groups of two to eight people
TIME: 30-90 minutes
SUPPLIES: Whiteboard or large flip chart, Post-its, and pens
Tom Kelley is the general manager of IDEO and an executive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. David Kelley is the founder and chairman of IDEO and the founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, where he is the Donald W. Whittier Professor in Mechanical Engineering. They are co-authors of Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (Crown Business, 2013).This article is about CREATIVITY
Overall, CSR in China research closely mirrors, albeit in a lagging fashion, the findings of wider CSR in management research. These findings are notwithstanding the very distinctive context of CSR in China.
After all in this country there are strong legacies of Marxism–Leninism, a dominant state and the role of the Communist Party, whose traces abide in the continuing prominence of regulation for CSR. Although CSR, as a subject for academic analysis, is regarded as originally an American phenomenon with more recent European and global ‘translations’, we have seen how CSR in China research represents a further facet of this translation.
Jeremy Moon & Xi Shen (2010) CSR in China Research, Salience, Focus and Nature, JBE
The way ahead
Access to information
Indigenous peoples –Tibet
Rights in the international arena & at home
Socialism with Chinese characteristics
Chinese business practices
The foundational values of China
(the example of Chinese medicine)
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