International Women's Day: It's important to believe in yourself and follow your own path

Founder and CEO at Live.me and SVP of Cheetah Mobile, Yuki He, on the importance of self-confidence and how we still have a long way to go before we reach gender parity.

International Women's Day is held annually on March 8th to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women whilst providing a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, IDG Connect has interviewed women from across the world who work in the technology sector to find out more about the current global landscape for Women in Tech.

On International Women's Day 2018, Hurun Report released a list of the top self-made female billionaires across the globe. No one from China made the equivalent male top 10 list, yet of the global list of top self-made female billionaires, six of ten are from China and have made their money in technology.

Women in China have long been seen as outperforming their Western counterparts when it comes to workforce representation in the technology industry; last year Chinese state media reported that women make up 55% of entrepreneurs in the internet field. However, that statistic has been repeated by the Chinese government since 2015 and there has been little information how that breaks down in terms of employees with technical jobs, women in leadership roles or female founders. Furthermore, independent research has put the figure closer to 16%, with Ling Zihan, the founder of China's first tech accelerator for women-led startups said that only 10% of Chinese startups have a female CEO. Depressingly, that's still higher than in the US where it's estimated only 6% of startups have female CEOs.

The biggest issue in China regarding women in technology appears to be representation at the upper echelons of organisations.  At the country's three biggest tech companies, Baidu, DiDi and Alibaba Group, women make up 45%, 40% and 47% of the respective companies' workforce. At Baidu, 34% of tech-specialised employees are women and 45% of Baidu's female employees are on mid-senior management teams. 20% of senior management positions at DiDi are held by women and one-third of Alibaba Group founders, partners and senior management executives are women.

However, these same three companies have a total of 24 board seats and 23 of those positions are currently held by men. They have also faced criticism for posting job advertisements asking for only male candidates to apply and touting the attractiveness of female employees as a perk of the job. Elsewhere in Asia, the statistics paint a similar picture. Only 12% of CEO and board level positions in Southeast Asia are held by women and in Japan the number sits around 7.8%.

Yuki He is the founder and CEO of LiveMe, a live broadcasting app which has more than 84 million users worldwide and is available in more than 85 countries, and Senior Vice President at Cheetah Mobile, a publicly-traded mobile internet company. Here, she talks about the importance of having confidence in yourself and how we still have a long way to go before we reach gender parity.

 

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