Julie Marchesseault
Aug 9, 2016

Gender equality: Great progress in China but still a long way to go

Successful women in China somehow naturally combine ambition, dedication to their personal and professional life, and the assertion of their beauty as women.

Julie Marchesseault
Julie Marchesseault

I have been working in Shanghai for four years now, and I have seen over the last few years a clear rise to power for women in advertising. 

According to recent statistics shared with me, males are still dominating the C-suite at 70 percent, yet a study published by Bain & Company showed that female graduates in China initially make up 46 percent of the working population in terms of "professional positions". 

Where it gets interesting to me, is that 72 percent of these graduates hope to become C-level executives. This is very encouraging and pushing us women already in leadership roles to continue to inspire them. 

While agencies and marketing jobs often have a high representation of women, this tends to be less true as one climbs higher up the ladder. On the other hand, the number of Chinese women with top management roles, especially in private companies—at our clients’ or partners’ organisations—is rising. 

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Overall, I have found that the conflicts women have to go through in China are comparable to Europe, where I come from. I am part of the Publicis Worldwide China management committee, which is composed of half women and half men—which was not the case in my previous experience in North America.

In China, the mindset of successful women is not one where you have to ‘act more like a man to be more successful’. 

Successful women in China somehow naturally combine ambition, dedication to their personal and professional life, and the assertion of their beauty as women. 

Overall, I believe China has achieved good results in promoting gender equality in this industry, but we need to keep our chin up and continue to close the gap and put in place the right support system so that more women ascend to the C-suite. 

Julie Marchesseault is CEO of Nurun Greater China

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