Bold For Change: Maria Wang

Maria Wang is a partner in our Shanghai office. Her practice focuses on real estate transactions, including complex mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, disposals, and project development and management. Maria has represented international and domestic real estate private equity houses, fund managers, financiers and developers in a variety of complex real estate-related transactions, covering different stages from development and construction to the management, operation, and disposal of real estate projects.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s political, professional, social and economic achievements worldwide. But it also is a reminder that there is still so much to be done to achieve gender equality and of my responsibility in supporting women in the fight against sexism. On a more personal and social level, International Women’s Day in China has become a day for men to express their affection and love to women. On this day I am expecting to get special treats (and hopefully big surprises) from my husband and a big thank you kiss from my son.

How can women be bold for change in their professional lives?

I believe we first need to be aware of how sexism has become normalized in our everyday lives. Even women sometimes fail to recognize our own unconscious bias against our own gender. We need to stop inadvertently perpetuating it ourselves and to step up and speak out when we see unfairness and advocate for changes.

I work in an industry where, despite the vast majority of lawyers joining the profession today being female, there is still evidence of large pay gaps and lack of women at senior levels. I believe women should choose to work for organizations that are committed to equal opportunity as the first step, and be persistent in calling out sexism and driving changes in the workplace. Women should be more united to advocate and support each other in their professional lives.

What woman most inspires you, and why?

Working professional moms inspire me, especially those who have made it to the top positions in their organizations, while managing to also raise children. These moms are often very ambitious, energetic, and devoted. They are tough at work but when they are with their children, they are like all other ordinary women, caring and loving. I aspire to be one of them; I’m a strong believer that a woman is only successful if she excels in her professional life while at the same time is part of a happy family.