When Jiang Lijui decided to start her own company in the technology sector in China, at first she hid her clients who were the boss for fear of macho prejudices. Six years later he has managed to defeat them in front of a team that has patented three innovations and has doubled the volume of its sales.
"Starting was hard," Jiang admits to hundreds of people, mostly women, at a forum on women's leadership in Beijing, in which his success story at the head of his "start-up" in Shenzhen – one of the main centers Technology of China – shows young women present that it is possible to succeed in a world traditionally dominated by men.
Shirley Chen, executive director of China's largest investment bank, China International Capital Corp (CICC), is another example. "The pressure of the industry can break you," he explains, due to the continuous trips and long working hours that complicate family reconciliation.
"In the investment sector only 20% of workers are women," says Chen, who says that from his position he encourages his colleagues to continue gaining presence without having to give up anything. "I encourage my employees to have children," he adds.
In the business world of the second world power, the female presence is widespread, but few manage to break the gender barrier that appears especially in high-level positions.
"In recent years, there are more and more female talents in the world of marketing and now they are the ones that dominate the sector," says Gill Zhou, director of marketing at IBM, which encourages women to "take risks" in their Professional careers to reaffirm his leadership and break the glass ceiling.
During the meeting, several participants appeal to the famous proclamation of Mao Zedong, "Women hold half of the sky", interpreted as a cry for equality between women and men that, however, has never materialized in the Asian country .
According to the latest report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on gender equality, China is ranked number 100 of 144 countries because the second world power has not achieved, despite its great progress -especially economic-, distribute the benefits of it in an equal way.
The same report points out that if China manages to improve equality, its economy could increase by 2.5 trillion dollars. Therefore, experts claim that women's empowerment is not only a question of rights or social justice, but the only sustainable development path at the global level.
Although President Xi Jinping has repeatedly defended his commitment to the development of women and gender equality, they still do not have a presence in the highest spheres of power, both in business and in the public sphere.
Recently, Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced that, although the Chinese law prohibits gender discrimination in hiring, one in five jobs offered for the Chinese public administration specify a preference or requirement to be a man.
In addition, the female presence continues to be insignificant in the leadership of the Communist Party (CCP), where only one woman is part of the Politburo, one of its highest governing bodies, composed of twenty-five people.
"We need to have more women among the top managers of companies and in the leadership positions of a government, and the government has to play its role in changing the gender culture," the Australian ambassador to China, Jan Adams, said during the forum.
However, government repression against any social movement, including feminism, silences the fight against discrimination in China, where, for example, the majority of victims of gender-based violence are still in the background, considering it a "private matter". "
"Gender equality is a great cause," said Xi when he delivered his first speech as president at the UN General Assembly in 2015, the same year in which he arrested five feminists who were preparing a campaign against sexual harassment.