WOMEN can be half the sky in the business world and some foreign companies actually have more women leaders in their China office than their overseas offices, participants said during a forum hosted by Shanghai Daily today.

The Women · Reform · Leadership Forum aims to honor outstanding companies and females for their achievement in pursuing gender equality and women’s leadership.

Six Women Leadership Outstanding Contribution Awards were given out along with 15 Women Leadership Innovation Awards at the forum.

The Women Leadership program is held by the Office of Shanghai Ethical and Cultural Building Committee and Shanghai Women’s Federation in partnership with British Consulate General in Shanghai.

Focusing on outstanding female achievements in various industries and fields, the program is designed to empower women’s career and leadership and push forward gender equality in companies.

One of the winners is Vivian Xiao, head of integrated communications for China at Signify, who said confidence is crucial for women to be good business leaders.

Jean Liu, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at EF Education, said women executives accounted for 60 percent at EF China offices, above the proportion of 50 percent for EF worldwide.

“We are doing better in our China office,” Liu said.

Bayer, Sephora, Baxter, Eaton, Amway, DSM, Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim, GM, Dow Chemical are among the winning companies.

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