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He Qiaonyu, the head of Beijing Orient Landscape Co Ltd, the largest landscape architecture company in China and the first to list on the stock market, has called on women to

play a more active role in global philanthropy.

Speaking at the third East-West Philanthropy Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, she said women's "natural tolerance and kindness" can play a more important role in philanthropy.

"We call on all women entrepreneurs, and also those in other areas of life such as entertainment and politics, to take more action now."

Peggy Dulany, the founder and chair of Synergos - a global nonprofit organization that promotes collaborative partnerships among business, government and civil society - added that she too thought woman had a "unique level of patience and love, which can help unite people with different backgrounds".

The Hawaii forum was held to discuss a new mission statement for global philanthropy, with Sino-US cooperation being promoted especially, to deal with urgent issues such as global warming, environmental pollution and protecting the rights and interests of women and children.

He used the event to pledge to donate shares worth 2.93 billion yuan ($445.49 million) this year, which Wang Zhenyao, dean of Beijing Normal University's China Philanthropy Research Institute, called the largest of its type so far this year.

He also emphasized she would be setting up a training platform on women's leadership development, which will encourage the exchange or training and ideas from other women entrepreneurs.

"We want to encourage and support more women leaders to become philanthropic leaders of the future."

Orient Landscape was originally started 30 years ago by He's father, but it was she who expanded it fast, along with China's rapid urbanization process.

In November, she launched the China Global Philanthropy Institute, along with other notable organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dalio Foundation.

"Bill Gates has always been my business idol," said the self-made billionaire from Zhejiang province.

"His engagement in philanthropy has inspired me to follow his lead. I really value the chance to work with broad-minded people with global vision."

According to Forbes magazine, there are just 28 female billionaires among China's 400 listed in 2015.

Another survey from The Hurun Report claims that eight of the world's top 10 richest self-made women are from China, and their total wealth is three times as much as those in the United States.

"Many Chinese women play the part of unsung heroes," said Geng Ming, deputy director of the China Office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

She said many Chinese women consider remaining low key as a virtue under the influence of Confucianism, which suggests the traditional place of a woman is in the home as a wife and mother.

But times are changing, with more Chinese women now taking roles across society, including aerospace, politics and economics.

Last year pharmacologist Tu Youyou became the first Chinese winner of a Nobel Prize for medicine, awarded for her discovery of a treatment for malaria.

"They are so many more women now willing to support their husbands, when it comes to charity, and becoming involved themselves," said Geng.

"Women are becoming a lot more influential. But when you understand women represent 60 percent of the world's poor population and two-thirds of the illiterate, it would be unimaginable not to have their full engagement."

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(China Daily USA 02/25/2016 page15)

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