Xue Wang
executive impact

Women in business: Xue Wang advises women to be pragmatic

8 Comments
By Maxine Cheyney for BCCJ ACUMEN

Xue Wang did not always think she would end up in Japan; it was just the right opportunity at the right time. Now senior associate at Allen & Overy (A&O), Wang finds that being pragmatic with the opportunities she is given has helped develop her career, maintain a good work–life balance and prepare for having a baby.Wang began to develop an international mentality through her education, going to international school in Germany, and when she studied economics and finance for her undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh, and spent a year in France. She then chose to study law, entering into a field that presented her with opportunities to travel and work abroad, giving her an understanding of work life in both Europe and Asia.

She joined Allen & Overy in 2007 and after two years in training at the firm, Wang qualified into the project finance department and was given the opportunity to transfer to Japan to work with a large trading house.

What are the best and worst decisions you have made in your career?

Moving to Japan was one of the best decisions, and going into law was a good decision for me. Studying law after my undergraduate degree suited my personality a lot more, and gave me opportunities to go abroad on numerous occasions.

Obviously day to day there are always challenges, but what’s really a bad decision? It’s more a question of attitude. I think a lot of what makes success in your career is what you make of your current situation.

What has been your greatest success?

Coming to Asia and building a successful career and client relationships in Japan. It is a very male-dominated society here and I always wondered, is it really going to work? How are they going to regard me as a female worker, a foreigner, and not really speaking Japanese? But it turned out perfectly fine. If you are an expert in your area and you are confident in what you do, then you can break down any barriers.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career and how did you meet it?

I am probably facing my greatest challenge at the moment, in terms of planning for the next step and balancing work with having a family. In this kind of job, which involves long hours, a lot of travel and a lot of working at weekends, it can be challenging. But a lot of it is just good communication, both at home and at work, managing expectations and taking it as it comes.

How do you achieve a work–life balance?

Often what I have seen is that if your other half is more understanding about your work schedule and willing to share the load at home, then that helps an immense amount. But it’s also your work environment and how flexible people are and how flexible clients are. In that respect I am extremely lucky because my bosses have a good attitude towards the balance between family and work. A&O have a strong agenda for promoting more women to progress to a senior and partnership level, and have a very generous maternity policy. There is also a maternity (and paternity) series on our intranet about peoples’ personal stories of how to deal with the challenges of balancing family and home life, which I found very inspirational.

What challenges do women in Japan face when taking on leadership roles?

In Japan, I think the main challenges for women are the traditional views about gender roles which leads to women having to bear a disproportionate burden of home responsibilities and being overly modest or giving less priority to their careers, and the general work culture that demands long hours at the workplace.

What would be your piece of advice to women in business in Japan?

If you want a career, just have a go and be pragmatic about your situation—there is no point not trying. If the company is not supportive, change companies, change teams, and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. You also need the right support network at home.

Go abroad and explore some different opportunities, too. I’ve met so many women here who are extremely clever and qualified, but they are happy to sit back and not go for the business positions.

It’s more overcoming that cultural barrier. This country is a particularly challenging environment, and you need a critical mass of people who think a certain way for things to change.

Who inspires you and why?

I would say my ex-boss in London. She was head of global project finance practice, a trailblazer and leader in her field and she still managed home and children.

Custom Media publishes BCCJ ACUMEN for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

© BCCJ ACUMEN

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
Login to comment

There is a women that I want to be like.This women is working in the world while she has a children.I think that it is very difficult to work while raising children.This is because we need to care not only about ourselves but also about our homes and our children.Even though I have a family like this women,I would like to continue to work.However,I am not confident that this is manageable.Therefore,I think that it would be good to increase the number of companies that support such women's need.If so,I think that women will be able to work more.There is something that resonated in my mind. If you want a career,you must be practical about the situation you are in.If your company is not supportive of this, you must not to be afraid to change companies, change the team and challenge the present situation.Like this woman,I want to challenge various things without fear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ms.Kue, plays an active part among various countries so we respect her as a woman because we are majoring in English. 

Japanese women's problem is prioritizing family over working, although Ms.Kue can make both important.

I hope that many Japanese company become cooperative for wowen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I feel that she has become a strong and intelligent woman because she has experienced being with me in the same environments. As I am going to work from now, I will experience a lot of things, go abroad and want to learn a lot of things. I want to be like her who does not fear gender discrimination and is not afraid to change the present situation to a good direction. Things will not start unless you try. It is important not to be passive, and to make the move by yourself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am proud that many international women like Wang work actively, and I think it is a good thing.And I think that the number of women like that will increase in the future. I also want to be a working woman like her.

Because in the past men led the society, women didn't have many opportunities to lead.But I think that women should be more active in modern society.

I believe that all women have the power to make society better. I want to be proud of being a woman.

The traditional views about gender roles have remained until today.Women need not give up their career to do house work. I abandon the traditional views about gender roles and think that all women should be able to pursue their careers. I want to do my best in achieving a successfull career without being afraid of failure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We read this article “Women in business: Xue Wang advises women to be pragmatic”.

In this article, Xue Wang offers advice towards Japanese women regarding the issue of balancing work and family commitments based on first-hand experience.

First we were surprised that this woman works and lives both in Asia and Europe. Because we learned the law gave us the opportunity to go abroad, we thought that the study we are doing was useful in an unexpected place.

When doing a lot of work at the weekend, communication at home tends to be neglected. we thought that should be treasured, not thinking of the time and communication as usual for communication with a few families. we think it is very difficult to keep balance between home and work. And if women have responsibilities or excessive burden on their families, we thought that they should cooperate with a couple to do housework. When we get married in the future we will not be caught only by work, we would like to be a woman who can value family communication.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We read this article “Women in business: Xue Wang advises women to be pragmatic”.

It is written in this article that her advice based on her real experience about work and family balance toward mainly Japanese women.

In this article, Xue Wang offers advice towards Japanese women regarding the issue of balancing work and family commitments based on first-hand experience.

First we were surprised that this woman works and lives both in Asia and Europe. Because we learned the law gave us the opportunity to go abroad, we thought that the study we are doing was useful in an unexpected place.

First, we were surprised at the fact that this woman lives and works in both Asia and Europe. We thought that the study we are conducting was useful in an unexpected way, as we learned that there are opportunities to travel and work abroad, if one chooses to enter the field of law.

When doing a lot of work at the weekend, communication at home tends to be neglected. we thought that should be treasured, not thinking of the time and communication as usual for communication with a few families. we think it is very difficult to keep balance between home and work. And if women have responsibilities or excessive burden on their families, we thought that they should cooperate with a couple to do housework. When we get married in the future we will not be caught only by work, we would like to be a woman who can value family communication.

As a result of working long hours during the weekend, communication at home tends to be neglected. We thought that communication within families should be treasured, by not taking the precious little time families have together for granted. Therefore, we think it is very difficult to maintain a balance between home and work. Also, if a woman has responsibilities or excessive burden on their family, we thought that co-operation between their partner should be emphasised. When we get married in the future, we would like to become a woman who will not be caught up with work, as well as a woman who can value family communication.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was surprised Japanese people and overseas people have different appraches to work,but I thought it was important to positivery challenge.However,a woman is serious because she must work with the housework.I think it was important not to separate them like women and foreigners but to understand by nearby people and in overseas,women are actively acting because people who can think things are important. Certainly,I thought that it was important for women to embark on society and actively work like men in this way.If women are confident about what they are good about women should insist. Also,in this article, I thought that going abroad like a woman is a good thing because having many experiences increases make them a better person.If I have chance to go abroad,I would like to engage with various people without dividing like Japanese and foreigners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We understood that the old Japanese idea that women are more conservative than men has become an obstacle for women to advance in society. We think that it is necessary to actively go abroad and remove cultural barriers. In addition, we thought that it is necessary for Japanese women to understand themselves and to have confidence in what they are doing in order to build a career.

  However, since many Japanese have no confidence in themselves and don’t have the ability of expressing their own opinions, we think that it is necessary to fundamentally improve their abilities. In order to have confidence in ourselves, we thought it would be a very good to make it a habit of going abroad and talking to foreign people. However, we think that it may be a problem that not everyone has the opportunity to go abroad. We then need a way to help those not fortunate enough to go overseas to be able to do so. 

  Also, companies should be responsible for creating an environment in which Japanese women can easily build their careers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites