By now we’re all familiar with the dismal statistics: in the world of entrepreneurship, only one in five businesses in the UK have female founders and market data has shown that only 2.19% of venture capital goes to a female-led business. It’s no better in the corporate world, where only one in six senior executives in the UK’s largest listed companies are women.
But while we may be more familiar with the stats closer to home, it was when Anna and I started looking into other markets further afield that we realised just how widespread these issues were. Take Hong Kong, where on average women earn 22% less than men and just 13.1% of directors are women, compared to 37% in the UK. Or Sydney, where women hold just 6% of ASX200 CEO roles, down from 7% in 2018. Not only are things not improving for women in 2019 – in some cases, they’re actually going backwards.
We realised it was more vital than ever to make sure that AllBright’s core mission – to connect and empower working women – had a truly global reach, which is why we’re thrilled to be hosting a series of events and activations in Hong Kong and Sydney this week, our first forays into these markets. We will be holding everything from insightful panel discussions and networking drinks receptions to our first ever Pitch Day in Asia, in partnership with HSBC Private Banking – with women making up 45% of Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs, compared to the global average of 37%, it is clear that women in Hong Kong possess the potential to thrive in their working lives, and we can’t wait to harness that.
We are also excited to be expanding our online community AllBright Connect, which connects thousands of women who would never otherwise meet, as well as launching a version of the AllBright Academy, our digital learning platform, specifically tailored to Asian and Australian audiences. Drawing on some of the most inspiring business minds in these communities – including Hong Kong-based female founders Barbara Yu Larsson and Vera Lui, Australian publishing powerhouse Paula Joye and CEO of La Prairie Australia, Rosi Fernandez – it will offer vital resources for women looking to supercharge their careers.
At AllBright we have seen first-hand the incredible things that happen when women come together – over a breakfast panel discussion, over a networking session and especially over a gin and tonic. We can’t wait to bring that magic to Hong Kong and Sydney, because take it from us – sisterhood works.