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Enterprises Shoulder Responsibilities of Promoting Gender Equality
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2017-8-25-
Title: Enterprises Shoulder Responsibilities of Promoting Gender Equality
Source: China Women's News
Release Date: August 24, 2017
Keyword: Audi advertisement, gender discrimination

A controversial Audi advertisement that uses a bride as a metaphor for secondhand cars has been withdrawn on the grounds of discrimination against women, triggering a wave of considerations on enterprises' responsibilities of promoting gender equality across the society.

Since the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) was put forward, it has been widely applied to enterprises development strategies and has been recognized by the whole of society, especially in social services, education and charity, as well as environmental-friendly industries.

Due to the lack of gender awareness, as well as the pursuit of the maximization of enterprise profits, women are often regarded as the burden of enterprises, greatly hindering their survival and development in the workplace.

It is of great significance for enterprises to fulfill their responsibilities of promoting gender equality

- More women join the ranks of labor forces

According to statistics, women accounted for 45 percent of the total employment population in 2013. Of which, 55 percent of Internet-based business starters and 25 percent of entrepreneurs were women. The proportion of women in emerging industries, as well as technology and knowledge-intensive industries, increased significantly. Additionally, women have outnumbered men in the fields of education, culture, radio, film and television, as well as health.

In 2014, the proportion of female junior college students and undergraduates and postgraduates were 52.1 percent and 51.6 percent respectively, showing that women are significant human resources for enterprises.

- Incorporating gender equality into the mainstream of enterprise development

With the development of gender mainstreaming at home and abroad, gender discrimination has become one of the most serious problems across the globe. Enterprises' reputations and images will be affected due to discrimination against women.

- Gender diversity has become a new way of enterprise innovation and development

Gender diversity helps to break gender stereotyping and barriers of gender-based division of labor under the background of traditional gender culture, creating a diversified and inclusive cultural atmosphere and realizing staff's values while benefiting the development of enterprises.

According to a survey conducted by McKinsey, gender-balanced enterprises with a high proportion of female executives had a good performance in organization and finance. The returns of capital for enterprises with a high proportion of female executives were almost 50 percent higher than those companies with no female senior-level staff.

Enterprises need to improve their responsibilities of promoting gender equality

As few companies have linked women's survival, development and rights protection with CSR, the current situation of women's career development is not satisfying.

- Women face a glass ceiling in their career development

According to a report released by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) in 2012, nearly half of Chinese enterprises faced problems of shortages of trained personnel, but employers still did not make full use of talented female staff and did not realize the importance of gender balance of talents.

Other surveys showed that women with higher education have occupied "half of the sky" in junior positions, but only a few could climb up to the high-level, leading to the emergence of a series of gender inequality phenomena, such as the "glass ceiling effect", "labyrinth effect" and "glass cliff effect".

- Gender discrimination in employment

According to the third survey on Chinese women's social status, 10 percent of women suffered gender discrimination in employment.

Another investigation showed that about 60 percent of women could not successfully find a job after giving birth and nearly 50 percent of them were discriminated against during pregnancy or their breastfeeding period. Of which, 10.2 percent of women were fired by employers during pregnancy, 21.1 percent were asked to take pay cuts or transferred to other posts due to employment discrimination and 12.9 percent had to work overtime or engaged in work that was not suitable for pregnant women.

- A lack of safety measures

Due to a shortage of consciousness of women's protection and safety precautions, sexual harassment and hidden rules in the workplace take place again and again.

According to the third survey on women's social status, 7.8 percent of women suffered sexual harassment in work and study. Moreover, 1.3 percent of women experienced unwelcome sexually determined behavior as physical contact and advances.

- A lack of care and support for women, especially for marginalized women, in corporate culture

Due to the absence of gender perspective in the performance of CSR, gender bias is seen in advertisements and display of corporate images.

Furthermore, because of the lack of care and support for disadvantaged women's groups, including rural women, physically-impaired women, elderly women and ethnic minority women, the imbalance of women's development in different regions still exists.

Measures for enterprises performing the responsibility of gender equality

Enterprises, along with the government and society, should take on their duties of making up 'gender deficit' resulting from women's commitments to human reproduction and shoulder their responsibilities to eliminate gender discrimination and promote gender equality, as well as the all-round development of women.

In addition, enterprises should incorporate gender equality into corporate development strategies, put gender perspective into employees' occupational planning, strengthen the protection of female staff in the workplace and work together with the government to improve the social security system, including maternity care and child care support mechanisms.

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