Students attending the mainland's first women-only executive business programme are being treated to a mixture of management theory and beauty training by a finishing school managed by Peking University. The Women's Executive Programme, which is aimed at female managers and entrepreneurs, has just been launched at the Guanghua Management School of Peking University. The programme will run for three days each month for six months and costs 30,000 yuan (HK$28,200). The course covers culture and beauty training, accounting, management, marketing and business training. Vice-director Lu Feng said the programme was launched in response to the findings of a survey carried out in conjunction with the China Women's Entrepreneurial Association that showed that female managers were lagging behind their male counterparts in several fields. These included risk and pressure management, innovation and change management. The survey showed that 54 per cent of female managers were not aware of the regulations applying to the industry in which they work, and 74 per cent were not aware of international labour standards. In an attempt to address these issues, the programme will include risk management, pressure management, organisational reform and decision-making modules, along with more general MBA courses such as marketing and strategy. 'The culture and beauty elements were introduced to add colour to the course and to encourage more ladies to apply,' Dr Lu said. 'I was attracted by the lectures on fashion, beauty and wine tasting,' said 40-year-old Lu Weifang, general manager of a private company. 'It is important for women to behave appropriately and elegantly on social occasions.' But some of the more mature students doubt whether there is much leverage to be gained from regularly reapplying one's lipstick. 'I'm 54 years old and I know how to behave,' said Qi Yan, general manager of a Beijing computer mall. 'Many ladies try to use their sex to their own advantage but I don't think it's wise. We need to arm ourselves with real knowledge. Lifelong learning is the only key to a successful career.' Female managers now account for 20 per cent of managers on the mainland, according to the association. Though more than 60 mainland universities run EMBA and MBA programmes, only 10 per cent of the students are women.