By: Khadija Azhar
Entrepreneurial spaces within Asia still remain predominantly male, but women like Jane Sun are continually working to create opportunities for future generations of female leaders. CEO of Ctrip Group–the second-largest online travel company in the world–Sun cites female empowerment as a core part of her personal mission statement, and has long leveraged her position to that effect.
Founded in 1999, Ctrip Group provides travel services, such as ticketing, accommodation and tours. Behind the scenes at this travel giant, more than half of the workforce is female, including one-third of the senior management. Progressive female-friendly policies have been introduced as incentives; not only are employees given education subsidies and taxi services, they are also reimbursed for egg-freezing procedures so they aren’t forced to delay their careers for childbirth.
For Sun, the journey has not been easy; her gender has been a hurdle in the past. Recalling her first visit to Japan as CFO, she recounts how her counterparts overlooked her while greeting Ctrip’s executives:
“They were not trying to hurt my feelings. They just thought that I was an assistant.”
Ctrip Group has further consolidated its position as a socially responsible company through its heavy involvement in international charity work, having donated to hospitals in war-torn areas of the Middle East and instituted hunger-alleviation programs in West Africa.
Sun’s efforts within these spheres cement her position as a game changer within the startup world. She is confident the company’s optimistic growth prospects will support its socially responsible business practices: “I know that we, Ctrip Group, will continue to give back to the world.” –KA