Ctrip CEO Jane Sun Says Tax Exemption Would Encourage Enterprises to Benefit Women

Shanghai, CHINA

Jane Sun, CEO of Ctrip

As the media hones in on the "her era" and the "#Metoo movement," it seems that the voice of women, in terms of both impact and volume, has reached an unprecedented level. But if we look around, we will find that many women, in China as well as the United States, are finding it hard to move beyond middle-level leadership positions in the workplace.

SHANGHAI, China, March 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It has been more than a century since International Women’s Day came into being in the early 20th century. In that time, women have unceasingly pursued equal labor rights and better social status. Today, the career development issues facing women are complex indeed: on one hand, women’s productivity, leadership and consumption power are gaining momentum; on the other hand, the environment for women's career development is still not satisfactory, and women still face many obstacles in obtaining top management positions.

Now we are riding the surging tide of the fourth industrial revolution. The arrival of artificial Intelligence, big data and cloud computing has unleashed humans’ innovative potential. When we look at each technological revolution and the expansion of education, we will find that the first and second industrial revolutions completed the physical equality between the sexes, and the third and fourth industrial revolutions made men and women more equal in knowledge and vision. Automated production is greatly reducing repetitive physical work, while the swift expansion of internet technologies provides women with a wider platform.

However, according to a report released by the International Labor Organization in 2018, the proportion of women entering the workforce is still lower than that of men. The report shows the global female labor force participation rate is 26.5 percentage points lower than the male rate, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The good news is that the labor participation rate of Chinese women is still quite high by world standards, higher than most economies in Europe, the United States, and India. In China, “women lift up half of the sky” has never been empty talk, but an objective description of the intelligence and diligence of Chinese women. 

With the growth of China’s economy and the acceleration of globalization, topics such as women's employment status, female employee welfare, workplace equality and development space have attracted increasing attention. In the author's view, extensive attention and full discussion can help form a consensus, and more importantly, fully reflect the complexity of the workplace issues women face. Now that we have recognized the situation at hand, we can take targeted action.

The primary challenge faced by women in the workplace today is unequal employment opportunities as a result of traditional gender roles. Recently, nine ministries including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Justice, jointly issued a notice regarding gender discrimination in the recruitment process. For example, it specifically opposed the consideration of a woman’s marital and childbirth status in recruiting. This clearly reflects the increasing emphasis on gender equality in the workplace.

For enterprises, measures that create a more equal working environment and provide promotion roadmaps for female managers that can unleash women’s contribution to the economy in the new era has become an important benchmark for distinguishing successful companies. Regarding this, I have called on enterprises to abandon the invisible discrimination of the “glass ceiling” and break through barriers hindering women’s career development, thus narrowing the gender gap in the workplace.

In my opinion, it is obviously preferable for companies to willingly provide a friendlier working environment than to force them to protect female employees’ rights; the cost of implementing the former policy will also be lower. To realize this goal, we not only need cooperation from companies, but also support from public policy entities, to jointly design a series of inclusive and realizable solutions.

Nowadays, women all over the world face the problem of “dual jobs.” Given the cultural backgrounds and traditional division of labor, this is especially the case in Chinese society. Many women shoulder the primary responsibility of bearing and raising children, as well as caring for the elderly, all without pay; infrastructure such as aged care and nursery schools that take some of this burden off women and allow them to enter or return to the workplace are still in their infancy. This fact has undoubtedly exacerbated workplace inequality. Being a female CEO who manages a company with a high proportion of female employees has endowed me with deeper understanding of this matter. Currently, women account for more than 50% of Ctrip employees. In middle and senior management, around 50% and 34% respectively are women. If the overall social environment does not change, women may be forced to interrupt or give up career opportunities even if they are highly enterprising.

The good news is that more and more companies are taking action to provide equal employment opportunities and career development paths for women. At the same time, they take into consideration the characteristics of different gender and social roles, so that women can adapt to the working environment more easily. For example, PWC just announced that their staff can work from home and adopt more flexible working hours.

As for Ctrip, we have introduced multiple initiatives and policies to make it easier for women to have babies without interrupting their careers. We provide an extra maternity allowance of 3,000 RMB to female employees during pregnancy and reimbursement for taxi bills commuting to and from work. Starting last year, we also expanded our maternity fund and paid annual leave while also providing high-tech assisted fertility solutions, such as egg freezing. Since it was implemented, this welfare program has covered an increasing number of Ctrip managers and employees, allowing them greater freedom to develop their career and plan their life.

Regarding public policy for society as a whole, one influential factor too often neglected is the difference in retirement age between men and women. Whether to bring forward or delay the retirement age is a matter that concerns the welfare and social security of our entire society. But the retirement age difference between men and women directly influences access to work opportunities, and whether women can continue to develop at a higher level.

In terms of creating a fair environment for women's career development, we not only need enterprises, but also the government to actively explore public policy interventions: for example, in terms of taxation, the government can provide incentives for companies that enhance women's workplace welfare and development opportunities, discuss policies to narrow the retirement age gap between men and women, and provide longer leave for partners of women during their pregnancy and breastfeeding phase. These measures will not only help enterprises to innovate and develop, but also raise awareness of gender equality and improve women's lives within society as a whole.

About Ctrip.com International, Ltd.
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. is a leading travel service provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management in China. It is the largest online consolidator of accommodations and transportation tickets in China in terms of transaction volume. Ctrip enables business and leisure travelers to make informed and cost-effective bookings by aggregating comprehensive travel related information and offering its services through an advanced transaction and service platform consisting of its mobile apps, Internet websites and centralized, toll-free, 24-hour customer service center. Ctrip also helps customers’ book vacation packages and guided tours. In addition, through its corporate travel management services, Ctrip helps corporate clients effectively manage their travel requirements. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.

For further information, please contact:
Ctrip PR pr@ctrip.com

Please notice the article is reposted from China Daily. 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/cd7bc332-8010-478e-89ba-b16837b2f78c

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