Head of the Press Office
Phone: +49 (0) 52 41 80 24 66
Subject: Society, Employees
Annabelle Long is a prime example of a successful businesswoman. The Bertelsmann manager heads the Bertelsmann Corporate Center in Beijing and is the Director of Bertelsmann Asia Investments. She has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership qualities, but in many countries women find it harder to prove themselves in senior positions. So there is a plenty of need for discussion, and Annabelle Long took the "Harvard China Forum" in Boston, MA as an opportunity to express her views on the matter.
At the event, she took a stand on the "Women in Leadership" panel discussion" "Female executives will have arrived at the center of the society only when no one even talks about the subject any more. However, at the moment, we still need forums like this to talk about it – so there is still a need to catch up."
Annabelle Long also made it clear exactly where she feels there is a need to catch up: "People keep using certain attributes to describe female leadership, like balanced, gentle and coordinated. I believe that women have all the qualities required for leadership positions." She herself is developing not only through her job, but also through her activity on various supervisory bodies, such as at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and at several Chinese companies.
China in particular offers better conditions for female executives than many other countries, said Long: "I reckon that China will be one of the most important exporters of female leadership. When the Chinese talk about inequality in organizations, they"re not even thinking about women"s quotas anymore, but are referring to discrimination based on race or age. But many international companies feel that appointing women to the executive board is an an act of equality."
Long also explained why China is predestined to increase the acceptance of female executives: "Since 1949 the Chin ese have always strictly adhered to the principle of equal pay for equal work. Women don"t just help look after the family of their own accord, but also from a sense of obligation. That has been the social consensus in China for over 60 years."
Today"s China has a fascinating demographic structure, Long added. As a result of urbanization, many women are moving from the countryside to cities to raise the children of middle-class families. "As a result, working women have a much better work-life balance. Chinese women shouldn"t pass up this opportunity," she said.
Founded in 1998, the Harvard China Forum in Boston is North America"s leading student-organized academic conference dedicated to constructive dialog on the challenges, trends, and issues affecting China. The event brings together leaders from business, academia and politics to gain insight and generate new ideas through discourse.