August 21, 2015; No. CCXXXIII

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No. CCXXXIII; August 21, 2015

THIS ISSUE’S HIGHLIGHTS:
I.          NETFLIX SETS NEW BENCHMARK FOR PARENTAL LEAVE POLICIES IN U.S.
II.         FROM IMPOVERISHED VILLAGE GIRL TO APPLE SUPPLIER: THE MAKING OF A CHINESE WOMAN BILLIONAIRE
III.        MISOGYNY IN POLITICS
IV.       GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN LEGACIES OF WOMEN FORUM AND CWDI MARKET OPEN IN MANILA

I. NETFLIX SETS NEW BENCHMARK FOR PARENTAL LEAVE POLICIES IN U.S.

4Video-streaming giant Netflix announced a new policy this month offering paid maternity and paternity leave for up to one year following the birth or adoption of a child. The company policy, which would not be outof place in European countries where parental leave is the norm, far exceedsnational laws in the U.S. which only allow up to 12 weeks of leave – unpaid –for new parents.

The day after Netflix’s announcement, Microsoft increased the paid leave they offer new parents to 12 weeks. At a time when negative publicity regarding Silicon Valley’s dismissive attitude toward women has been much chronicled, these announcements may help encourage other tech companies to improve their policies as the companies compete for talent.

 

Netflix’and Microsoft’s company policies, however, are far from typicalinthe U.S. where only 21% of employers offer a paid maternity benefit, and only17% provide any paid paternity leave for fathers or parents whoadopt.Many of thecompanies which provide the paid parental leave benefits are high-techcompanies, such as Google and Facebook in addition to Netflix and Microsoft.Faced with a young workforce whichdoes not hesitate to switch employers, these companies are aiming to installloyalty with enhanced benefits.

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Evenwhere there is paid paternity leave, though, men do not always take advantage ofthe benefit or may have their careers stalled if they do.Taking a lengthy paternity leave in acompany where few, if any, senior men have ever done so requires courage.TheNew York Times’survey of past andcurrent Amazon employees chronicled a competitive cut-throat work culture, wheretaking off for any reason would certainly curtail career advancement.There may be good intentions behindpaternity leave, but having men take such benefits is anotherstory.(Business,”Microsoft Offers Big Upgrade to Paid Leave for New Parents”, 8/5/15;New York Times,“Paid Leave of Fathers,Any Takers?”by Ron Lieber,8/8/15)

 

While these companies are making strides to improve their employees’ work-lifebalance, other issues related to child care are affecting the careertrajectories of both men and women.A recentWashington Postpollrevealed that more than three-quarters of mothers and half of fathers in theU.S. refused promotions, switched jobs, or left work to tend for theirchildren.Finding affordable,dependable child care is the reason for these decisions and is shaping thecareers for millions of American parents. (WashingtonPost,“Parents Feel Need to Scale Back Jobs,”8/7/15.

 

The 2016 Global Summit of Women, which takes place in Warsaw, Poland on June 9-11will continue to explore these work-life balance issues.For more information on past Summits,visitwww.globewomen.org/globalsummit.

II. FROM IMPOVERISHED VILLAGE GIRL TO APPLE SUPPLIER: THE MAKING OF A CHINESE WOMAN BILLIONAIRE

2In the Forbes magazine list of female billionaires, U.S. and European women who have accumulated their wealth largely through inheritance fill up nearly all the top 100 places. An exception to the heiresses is the wealthiest female self-made billionaire in the world, China’s Zhou Qunfei, CEO of Lens Technology.  Realizing the Chinese version of the American Dream, Qunfei worked her way up from a factory floor worker to owning and running a glass production company which provides glass covers for smartphones and laptops, and whose biggest clients are Apple and Samsung.
Her remarkable journey began in an impoverished village in central China helping her family raise ducks and pigs for food before dropping out of school at 16 to work for $1 a day in a factory making watch lenses.  Six years later, after several promotions, she left the company to start her own glass business along with some relatives.  At the new company, Qunfei repaired and designed factory machinery and taught herself complex screen-printing processes and difficult techniques to improve prints for curved glass.  The company grew tremendously due to the need for glass covers for the ubiquitous iPhones and other mobile devices and is currently a $8 billion company with 75,000 employees.

Qunfei is just one example of women in China who are making their fortunes through entrepreneurship.  In comparison, Japan has no self-made female billionaires and only a handful of the 37 U.S. women on the list earned their billions through their work.  (New York Times, 8/2/15).  Another Chinese woman CEO with a “rags-to-riches” story participated in the 2010 Global Summit of Women in Beijing, Yang Mianmian, who started out as a salesperson before ending up as CEO of the Haier Group, one of the largest appliance companies in the world.  In a country with few established players as the Chinese economy expanded, China’s active women’s business community has been able to take advantage of the new opportunities and make their mark — as well as their billions.

III.        MISOGYNY IN POLITICS

At the widely-viewed first debate among Republican Party presidential candidates in the U.S., wealthy businessman and TV personality Donald Trump attacked news host Megyn Kelly for asking a question about his previously-made sexist remarks.  He later followed up the attack with additional misogynistic comments about Kelly, which dominated the news and brought treatment of women into the electoral discussion.

Though some of the large group of Republican presidential candidates have denounced Trump for his remarks since the event, no candidate reacted to his attack during the debate.  The comments made since, however, appear disingenuous given these candidates’ positions on issues related to women.

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Kelly, Trump, and Walker

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, for example, argued during the debate that women should be denied abortions even in the case of a mother possibly losing her life.  Other candidates would ban the procedure for victims of rape, while also attacking mothers on welfare and positing other policy stances disregarding women’s needs.  The overall impression during the debate and ensuing remarks was one of hostility toward women.

The episode illustrates some of the reasons why U.S. girls and young women learn that politics is not for them.  According to a recent study, young women are half as likely as young men to seriously think about entering politics, are less politically active than young men, and even less likely to discuss politics in their studies or with peers in college. (“Trump Wins. Kelly wins.  Girls Lose,” Washington Post, 8/13/15). Additionally, women are persistently less likely to donate to political candidates and causes, to attend political meetings or rallies, or to write to an elected official.  The current climate in the Republican Party campaign is not helping to end the idea of politics as masculine.

IV. GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN LEGACIES OF WOMEN FORUM AND CWDI MARKET OPEN IN MANILA

President of the Global Summit of Women Irene Natividad will return to the Philippines for a series of events from September 14-18 focused on showcasing Philippine women’s business leadership and inspiring female students to reach for entrepreneurial success.

Natividad kicks off her visit with a Legacies of Women Forum in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management on September 14.  Started by Natividad in 2007, the Legacies Forum at AIM marks the 17th time Natividad has brought together successful women CEOs in different countries for a frank panel discussion to share experiences in reaching top positions in the business world.

The women CEOs participating in the event are: Maria Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources; Zondy Garcia, President and CEO of ING Bank Philippines; Maan Hontiveros, CEO of Air Asia; Rizalina Mantaring, President and CEO of SunLife Financial Philippines; and Marife Zamora, Chair of Convergys Philippines. Over 300 students from AIM and other business schools will participate in the discussion with the CEOs.

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Legacies Panelists: Perez-Agudo, Garcia, Hontiveros, Mantaring, and Zamora

“I started the Legacies of Women events globally so that young women entering the business world can receive the gift of expertise and knowledge from the many successful business women who lead enterprises worldwide, but who are not present in textbooks,” Natividad said.  “As students go through their studies, they are too often bereft of the wisdom of the women who have come before them.  We want that knowledge — their “legacy” — to pass on to the next generation of enterprising women.”

The following day, September 15, Natividad will bring together 40 women business leaders for the first-ever all-women bell-ringing ceremony at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to salute the achievement of Philippine women in business and to mark the Philippines’ hosting of the APEC Women and the Economy Forum.  Undersecretary of Trade and Industry Nora K. Terrado, the Chair of the APEC women’s conference, and Chair of the PSE Hans B. Sicat will join Natividad at the Market Open.

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Natividad rings the bell to open the Deutsche Boerse in 2012.

 

The PSE Market Open marks the 15th time Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), chaired by Natividad, has organized all-women bell-ringing ceremonies across the globe.  Previous CWDI Market Opens have taken place at NASDAQ in New York, as well as at stock exchanges in Toronto, Johannesburg, Madrid, Istanbul, Barcelona, Warsaw, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Zurich, Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt, Paris, and Sydney.  Joining CWDI as partners for this historic event in Manila are the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, the Filipina Women CEO Council, and the Asian Institute of Management.

For videos of previous Market Opens, visit www.globewomen.org/cwdi/cwdi.htm


See photos and presentations from the 2015 Summit at www.globewomen.org/globalsummit

Join us in Warsaw, Poland for the 2016 Global Summit of Women ***  June 9-11, 2016

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Polish delegates at the Closing Ceremony of the 2015 Global Summit of Women inviting delegates to Poland in 2016.

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