Accounting firm Ernst & Young has launched, in its China practices, a set of initiatives aimed at promoting gender inclusiveness and retaining top women executives. The programme has been in place in the United States for more than 10 years, and the company decided to expand it to China in response to the country's changing workplace landscape. It includes the introduction of a flexible work arrangement initiative, which includes, but is not limited to, the use of flexible working hours, career breaks, and for people to work remotely from home. It aims to offer a more flexible approach to working by taking into account people's individual needs and aligning them with their career goals. Ernst & Young said it also planned to establish a working parents' network. The objective is to provide a support system and a sense of connectivity for working parents, and a place where positive role models can be identified. To mark the launch of the programme in China, the company held a Women's Leadership Conference in Shanghai last month, attended by 140 senior executives of both genders. Women leaders at Ernst & Young, and successful women leaders in the community, were invited to share their experiences in developing their careers and overcoming the challenges of being working mothers. The plan was to make the conference an annual event, the company said. Loletta Chow, Greater China people leader, Ernst & Young, said: 'We recognise the significant role women are playing in the development of our business and in the broader marketplace. We also recognise that women have different motivations from men. Men focus on their career and are more aggressive in taking up higher positions. When women reach a certain age, they face more demands from families including marrying, starting their own families, taking care of their children and elderly parents.'