On May 27th, three individuals who have been recognized as a leader in promoting gender equality joined Phoenix Risen volunteer Alana Strassfield at the YUNQI 2050 conference in Hangzhou, China to discuss how technology can catalyze greater gender equality. Our panelists talked about measuring results, finding mentorship, embracing technological change and differentiating yourself in preparation for the future of work.
Two men and one woman, with backgrounds in technology, advertising, investment and women’s leadership, spoke about the intersection of technology and gender equality. Though they all now reside in China, our panelists brought an international perspective, with two of them raised in the U.S. and Australia. Here’s a bit more about them:
Philip Beck – Chairman, Dubeta
Michelle Li - Founder and CEO, Sorority China
Martin Liu - Co-Founder, Robin 8
Here’s what we talked about at YUNQI
What do you see as the biggest challenges to gender equality in your industry and what are your companies doing to combat this?
Compensation and confidence appear to be major barriers when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. While Sorority China is mostly female employees, Michelle points out that some Hollywood actors, who have refused roles in which their female counterpart is paid less, have started to make an impact. It makes the issue public and when men and women come together, it’s easier to achieve equality. Philip talks about how he mentors women to gain confidence in themselves and encourages others to do so. He points out that women tend to be more detail oriented and able to detect when someone is being deceitful, which are highly valued, but that they lack the confidence to assert themselves and their ideas.
How do you think that technology can play a role in achieving gender equality?
Results and connectivity can play a huge rule in achieving gender equality. Technology focuses on results. Martin points out that when we can measure the results of men’s and women’s accomplishments as well as companies’ performance when it comes to gender equality, we’ll be able to take actionable steps towards reducing inequalities. As the CEO of Sorority China, Michelle believes that technology can help women build their “tribe,” an asset that she sees as crucial in women’s professional development. For women to be successful and advance, they need women who can support and guide them. There are incredible resources online via LinkedIn, WeChat and online platforms where women can connect to support one another.
What advice would you give to audience members to fully integrate gender equality into every aspect of our lives?
Embrace technology, improve your LQ and find a mentor. Technology will radically change the way we live and work. Automation will take over a significant portion of traditionally held jobs, so for men and women to be successful in the future, they need to embrace technological change and not live in fear of it. Find an older mentor who can help you improve your confidence and guide you in your career. With the rate of technological change, it’s difficult to tell what our future will look like and what skills we’ll need to standout in the workforce. Michelle emphasizes the necessity for the Love Quotient (LQ) which she thinks will give women an advantage in the future.