“Sister Dong”, as Ms Dong Mingzhu is known by her employees who appear to adore her, is China’s leading businesswoman and runs Gree Electric Appliances. The youngest of seven children in a family of ordinary workers in Nanjing, she is a legend in China known particularly for her book, “Regretless Pursuit” about her success in running Gree Electric, which is a best seller. In 2002 a TV drama about her life was a big success and in 2009 she was named one of BusinessWeek’s 40 most-influential people in China. “I love a challenge. I stick to my principles. In my view, doing the best job is very important, which has also helped me to work my way from the basic level to a leadership position,” she says. China is home to many businesswomen: seven of the 14 women identified on Forbes magazine’s list of self-made billionaires are Chinese.
“Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women are the Solution” is a book written by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid. The authors look at how employers attract and retain women in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called BRIC nations – as well as in the United Arab Emirates. Interestingly, it is becomming known that living in emerging markets offers many advantages for female professionals. On the one hand there are plenty of cheap babysitters; on the other hand corporate culture is changing very fast, not least because companies are hiring so many young people.
In spite of that, the authors point out how many steep obstacles businesswomen have to face. How can they stay on the fast track if, as in the UAE, they cannot travel without a male chaperone? And how can they be taken seriously if, as in Russia, the term “businesswoman” is synonymous with prostitute? Prudent firms focus on the two biggest problems for working women in emerging markets: looking after their ageing parents and commuting. A growing number of companies provide flexi-time so that women can work from home. Ernst & Young holds family days to show parents what their daughters have achieved and also offers medical cover for parents. Many companies provide their female staff with late-night shuttle buses and many female-only taxi companies are springing up in India, the UAE and Brazil.
Businesswomen are an important resource to boost the growth of emerging markets, which can open a wide range of new opportunities also for western companies. Ask SanTranslate, your professional language services provider, if you want to target the BRICs: choosing the right words is very important, because every word is a BRICK designed to pave the way for your success!