Big businesses on the mainland employ more women at the junior level than in any other Asian country, a survey has revealed. Singapore, however, outperforms the mainland, India and Japan when it comes to the number of senior positions held by women. The Gender Diversity Benchmark report compiled by Community Business, a Hong Kong-based charity that provides corporate social responsibility advice, is the first of its kind in Asia. 'China along with Singapore ranks better than India and Japan for women at all levels and corporate leaders should be applauded for their efforts,' said Shalini Mahtani of Community Business. Over 42 per cent of the total workforce on the mainland were women compared to 25 per cent in India. However, there continues to be a cultural expectation that women should focus on taking a bigger role at home than at work. 'Companies need to adopt an open and supportive mindset towards women in order to fully harness their talent and potential,' said Bianca Stringuini of American Express. The survey was the work of the Diversity & Inclusion in Asia Network, which is made up of 13 firms including American Express, Microsoft, Shell and Standard Chartered Bank. Each company listed how many women it employed in each country and at what level. Two female managers from each country were nominated to be interviewed. Although reluctant to put the challenges they faced down to their sex, those interviewed did raise points related to the fact that they were women. Work-life balance continues to be a key issue, along with confronting stereotypes about a woman's role within the family. Many felt that they had to work harder and perform better than men. 'Leadership in Asia has not fully engaged the subject of diversity,' Ms Mahtani said. 'It is still relatively new. Our equal opportunity legislation in the region has not moved at the same speed as it has in Europe and the United States.' The report recommends that businesses be more transparent about the number of women in their workforce and increase the networking opportunities for women. 'It is important to share your experiences, share your mistakes and share your successes with the next generation,' said Kathy Matshui of Goldman Sachs. Community Business hopes to produce a similar report each year.