Home > Uncategorized > Baidu CFO, Jennifer Li, “Gender is not a factor when it comes to success.. it’s your attitude towards work”

Baidu CFO, Jennifer Li, “Gender is not a factor when it comes to success.. it’s your attitude towards work”

Following segment is a profile by CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout on Baidu CFO, Jennifer Li. Her advice? “Gender is not a factor when it comes to success.. it’s your attitude towards work.” That’s obviously applicable to both men and women. If you think about it, that’d be applicable to race, age, or whatever color and stripe you fancy yourself. China will have her share of Baidu’s and Huawei’s. For young Chinese who aspire to great heights, there will bound to be more captains of industry like Li to model after.

  1. June 6th, 2012 at 13:24 | #1

    I disagree with Li. Gender and race, especially the in the US is very relevant to success. Maybe it’s less so in China but I doubt it is not a factor at all. A more charitable interpretation of what she is saying is that though it is a factor, often negatively affecting people in success, it may be overcome. Maybe sometimes. Maybe even often. But by saying that it isn’t even a “factor” in success is highly misleading.

    For example, this recent study shows that discrimination against Asians is one major factor for having the longest unemployment period of any racial or ethnic group.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/05/why-do-asian-americans-have-the-worst-long-term-unemployment/257806/

    There’s voluminous data on the negative effects of racial and gender discrimination. It definitely is a negative factor in success.

  2. June 6th, 2012 at 16:10 | #2

    @melektaus
    That’s a fair criticism. My take is Li is speaking from a personal motto perspective. And I forgive her for perhaps sounding a bit absolutist. For those of us not trained in philosophy, we tend to be sloppy in our word choices. Yes, some times require charitable interpretation. 😉

  3. June 6th, 2012 at 16:43 | #3

    You guys should find this figures interesting, the key words here are “self made”:

    Only 14 women in the world have earned their own 10-figure fortunes, and half of them struck it rich in China.
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/22/billionaire-women-entrepreneur-china-richest.html

    World’s Richest Self-Made Women are Chinese
    http://www.thomaswhite.com/explore-the-world/postcard/2010/chinese-dominate-richest-women-list.aspx

  4. June 6th, 2012 at 16:55 | #4

    I wasn’t surprise because 1/3 of entrepreneur in China are women, the highest percentage in the world. However, I was a bit surprise by this figures:

    A third of China’s millionaires are women, and they buy a disproportionately large share of high-performance sports cars in the world’s fastest-growing major economy. Fiat SpA said the percentage of women buying its Maseratis in China is triple that of Europe, while the percentage buying its Ferraris is double the global average.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-13/chinese-women-millionaires-enter-man-s-world-with-400-000-maseratis.html

    “20 percent of the 220 Italian super cars were sold to women this year. In the West, only five percent of Ferrari’s sales are to women.”

    http://reviews.carreview.com/chinas-luxury-car-market-booms-chinese-women-drive-ferrari-sales-wait-what

  5. lolz
    June 7th, 2012 at 11:17 | #5

    One of the benefits of communism is the the concept of gender equality. Sure Chinese had it bad in the 20th century, but under communism women were encouraged to work with the men rather than to be expected to stay at home.

    It thus should not be surprising that out of all the self-made billionaire women (there are only 14 of them), half of them came from China.

  6. June 7th, 2012 at 16:22 | #6

    @lolz
    I have thought about that but is not convinced, I believe communism played a very small role. If that is the case, Russia and former communist states would have lots of female entrepreneurs.

    If you looked at HK, Taiwan and the area where there are high concentration overseas Chinese community like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc the number of female entrepreneurs are very high too, 1/3 and is increasing. It is interesting to compare it with Japanese and Korean society.

    But again, I am not surprise. From 1850s until 1900s, China is practically run by an empress dowager. Song Qinglin and Meilin are more influential than any first ladies in western countries. There is a strong precedence of Chinese women playing a big part in Chinese culture, politics and business.

    Of course, the major reason half those female billionaire are from China is due to the explosive economic development there. None of them succeed due to the much circulated effect of “guanxi”.

  7. aeiou
    June 7th, 2012 at 22:56 | #7

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17585201
    There were also major cultural differences when teenagers were asked about why people succeeded at school.

    “North Americans tell you typically it’s all luck. ‘I’m born talented in mathematics, or I’m born less talented so I’ll study something else.’

    “In Europe, it’s all about social heritage: ‘My father was a plumber so I’m going to be a plumber’.

    “In China, more than nine out of 10 children tell you: ‘It depends on the effort I invest and I can succeed if I study hard.’

    “They take on responsibility. They can overcome obstacles and say ‘I’m the owner of my own success’, rather than blaming it on the system.”

    Most westerners like to portray themselves as individualistic, independent, libertarian free spirits, and conversely like to think of Asians as unimaginative, collective sheep. It’s interesting because as the quote anecdotally demonstrates, westerners like to externalise their problems – blame their problems on someone else or the state – rather than taking personal responsibility or be a little bit more self reliant.

    Of course doesn’t matter how much contrary evidence you present, it won’t stop the west portraying China as kind of sexists, repressive feudal state.

  8. Hong Konger
    June 8th, 2012 at 10:46 | #8

    As a woman, I have to agree with Ray.
    Chinese society has a long history of strong women. And China’s sudden economic growth in 1-2 generations has allowed a whole new crop of people to get rich.
    I don’t think it’s just because of Communism. But, for whatever reason, it’s good to see this trend.

  9. JJ
    June 21st, 2012 at 03:18 | #9

    I saw this on another site and it surprised me:

    China has more women in senior management positions (34%) than the US (15%).

    That means a women in China is twice as likely to be in power than in the US!

    In addition, globally just 8% of companies with women in senior managerial positions have a female Chief Executive Officer (CEO). However the story is different in Asian economies, Thailand leads the way with 30% of companies employing female CEOs, followed by mainland China (19%), Taiwan (18%) and Vietnam (16%).

    http://www.gti.org/Press-room/Proportion%20of%20women%20in%20senior%20management%20falls%20to%202004%20levels.asp

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