How Do You Say "Glass Ceiling" In Chinese? Well, You Don't Have To...

Say what you want about working conditions in China, but apparently they’ve topped most of the world in at least one area: women in high places.

Say what you want about working conditions in China, but apparently they’ve topped most of the world in at least one area: women in high places.

In advance of “International Women’s Day” tomorrow, Experian and Grant Thornton unveiled a report that claims 91 percent of mainland China companies have women in senior management positions. (No word on salaries.) That ranks it second behind only the Philippines among the 32 countries and regions surveyed.

“Despite some people’s perception about traditional sexism in the Chinese society, it is positive to note that nowadays nine in ten businesses on the mainland have women in senior management,” said Alison Wong, partner of specialist advisory services at Grant Thornton. “The findings suggest that China businesses focus on capability and performance when appointing senior management, but not the gender.”

The survey also revealed that countries in Asia overall tend to have a higher proportion of businesses with women participating in senior management – with the major exception of Japan.

“Obviously, Japan is unique in the cultural perception about women in business and women’s role in the family as compared with other parts of Asia,” said William Thomson, Experian’s global economic director.

The Philippines ranked first in both percentage of companies with women in senior management and women as a percentage total in senior management. Following China in the first category were Malaysia, Brazil and Hong Kong. In the second category, Brazil ranked No. 2, followed by Thailand, Hong Kong and Russia.

The U.S.? Well, the country ranked 13th in percentage of companies with women in senior management (maybe next year we can beat Botswana, which ranked 9th) and 11th in women as a percentage total in senior management. (Another strong effort from Botswana, which took 7th place.)

Japan ranked last in both.

The survey was carried out among 7,200 owners of medium to large privately held businesses during late 2006.

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