International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace
Today, the rapid advancement of information technology represented by the Internet has brought about new ways of social production, created new space for people’s life, opened new horizons of state governance and enhanced people’s ability to understand and shape the world.
China is vigorously implementing the national strategies for cyber development, IT application and big data and the “Internet Plus” action plan. It encourages the development of e-commerce, promotes integration of the digital and real economies and works to optimize the allocation of resources and boost total factor productivity, which will drive innovation, transform growth model and adjust economic structure.
China values fairness, openness and competition in the market. While pursuing its own development, China advocates cooperation and shared benefits and commits to promoting investment, trade and a stronger digital economy globally. It supports fair and open international trade, opposes trade barriers and trade protectionism and pursues an open and secure environment for the digital economy, to ensure the Internet serves the economy and innovation. It calls for fair, reasonable and universal access to the Internet, popularization of Internet technology and diversity of Internet language, and seeks enhanced cooperation and exchange with other countries and regions on cyber security and information technology, for the advancement and innovation of Internet technology, equal sharing of digital dividends and sustainable development of the cyberspace.
Women head back to work with ‘returnships’
At 51, Cathy McDonnell wanted to put her Oxford physics degree and former experience crunching data at Qinetiq to better use. She had worked part-time in a school for several years while her three children were young, but she wanted to get back into the corporate world.
Several applications later, all for jobs in her former field of defence, she was getting nowhere. Then a friend told her about “returnships”, a form of later-life work experience that some companies are experimenting with to help older people — mainly women — return to work, often after breaks to care for families.
Ms McDonnell eventually secured a place on an 11-week “Career Returners” programme with O2, open to men and women, which included being buddied with a 20-year-old male student who was also with the company on work experience. He helped to acquaint her with new technology, such as using an iPhone and accessing the company’s virtual private network from her laptop so she could work from home but still access internal files.
“On the assessment day, I thought they must have been looking at my project management skills. But they weren’t looking at us for specific roles. They were just thinking, ‘These women have a lot to offer, let’s see what they can do.’ That was refreshing.”
O2 is one of a clutch of companies, in the UK and the US, that have spotted an opportunity in hiring female returnees, who can put to use again technical skills learnt earlier in their careers.
Fans of returnships — the concept was pioneered in 2008 by the late Brenda Barnes, former chief executive at food company Sara Lee — believe middle-aged women returning after a break make particularly good employees, because they bring a fresh perspective and reflect more diverse clients and customers. Women tend to combine high emotional intelligence with strong leadership and organisational skills.
There is a “massive pool of highly skilled people who want to return to work,” says Julie Thornton, head of human resources at Tideway, an engineering company building a multibillion pound “super sewer” in London.
“Recruitment agencies typically view people who have had two years out as a risk, but we see them as a great opportunity.”
Tideway is hiring older women in part because it has a target of gender parity across its business by 2023. Women comprise 36 per cent of its workforce now. Older, highly qualified workers help to balance the graduates it takes on.
This is not because of sexist notions that mothers are good at multitasking, coaching or mentoring. In fact, by hiring female returnees, companies can access hard skills these women developed in their former high-level jobs — and for a discount. In return, employers coach older females back into working life.
Through her returnship, Ms McDonnell gained a full-time role as an operations data consultant, handling projects within service management at O2.She still is earning less than she would like to. “But it’s a foot in the door and the salary is up for review in six months,” she says.
It is still overwhelmingly women who stay home to care for young families. UK government figures show that women account for around 90 per cent of people on extended career breaks for caring reasons.
A lack of older women working, particularly in highly skilled roles, is costing the UK economy £50bn a year, according to a report last year from Radix, a new British think-tank that aims to promote “the radical centre”. This was the amount that women over the age of 50 would have earned in 2015 had they made as much as their male peers, according to Nick Tyrone, chief executive. “This would have resulted in around £9.5bn extra [in income tax] to the Treasury,” he adds.
The report found that men over 50 took home nearly two-thirds of the total wages paid out to everyone in that age range in 2015. It blamed the pay gap on the low-skilled, part-time roles older women often accept. Some 41 per cent of women in work in the UK do so part-time, as opposed to only 11 per cent of men, according to Radix.
This issue is not restricted to the UK. A study last year by eco-nomists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University found “robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women” in a range of white and blue-collar jobs. The data show that it is harder for older women to find jobs than it is for older men regardless of whether they have taken a break from working.