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International Women's Day 2024|Release of survey findings on "Women's Quality of Life and Public's Attitude toward Gender Equality in Hong Kong"

In commemoration of International Women's Day, an online survey focusing on women's quality of life and public attitudes toward gender equality in Hong Kong was conducted by Professor Celia Hoi Yan Chan and her team from the University of Hong Kong's Department of Social Work and Social Administration.

 

The study, co-organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres (HKFWC), aims to examine the public's attitude toward gender equality and its impact on the quality of life of women in Hong Kong.

 

The survey took place from January to February 2024, with participants recruited through community networks and social media platforms. It gathered data from 1,287 adults, including 603 men (47%) and 684 women (53%). Nearly half of the respondents were aged between 26 and 45 years old (49%), with approximately half being married (53%) and childless (49%). Additionally, 48% were employed full-time, 43% held a bachelor's degree or higher, and 21% had no personal income.

 

Hong Kong's awareness of gender equality surpasses the global average, yet notable differences exist between men's and women's viewpoints.

  • Compared to the data from the Gender Equality Study by UN Women, Hong Kong's gender equality awareness is higher than the average global level in every domain;
  • Regarding access and control of resources, such as quality education, personal property, personal life, and safety at home and in public places, there are significant differences between men’s and women's views, with men tending to over-estimate the easiness women face in obtaining and controlling these resources in society;
  • In terms of future ideals, the majority of respondents agree that more respect for women's rights is needed in all areas. This includes  providing more opportunities for women in business, politics, and higher education, as well as ensuring equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. However, the percentage of agreement in Hong Kong (90.2%) is slightly lower than the global average (92%). Additionally, there are significant differences between the views of men and women on these issues,  with men not placing as much importance on these claims as women do.

 

Improved gender equality awareness positively impacts women's mental health and quality of life.

  • The study's findings indicate that attitudes toward gender equality significantly predict women's quality of life.
  • The higher women's awareness of gender equality, the better their mental health and environmental satisfaction.
  • Compared to women who uphold traditional gender stereotypes, women who are more prone to have an equal attitude toward men’s and women's roles in society, their general quality of life, including their physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and the environment health, are all better.

 

Implications for women's policies and services

  • Promote extensive gender mainstreaming: The government should integrate gender perspectives and needs into all legislation, policies, and programs at all levels, considering both women's and men's issues and experiences. Increasing transparency will enable public monitoring of gender mainstreaming effectiveness and progress. Additionally, further consideration of different genders' needs should be encouraged among social groups such as NGOs, businesses, and schools.
  • Strengthen gender education: Integrating gender education into primary and secondary school curricula will foster early gender awareness and self-awareness. Simultaneously, the involvement of various genders in household labor division should be encouraged.
  • Support gender-aware initiatives: Subsidize mental health projects that promote gender equality awareness, help women identify mental health risks early, and reduce the impact of gender labels in communities.
  • Organize inclusive activities: Offer parallel activities for women and children, and provide childcare services during events to cater to women's and their care recipients' needs. This approach enables women to break free from traditional gender roles and caregiving responsibilities, allowing full participation in activities.
  • Create women-friendly workplaces: The government should lead or legislate measures to establish carer-friendly work environments, such as providing menstrual leave, caregiving leave, breastfeeding rooms, and flexible working hours for carers.
  • Explore various economic empowerment models: Provide women with more vocational training, employment, and entrepreneurial support, facilitating convenient participation.
  • Increase community respite service availability: Offer alternative care options, such as childcare, eldercare, and emergency respite services, to reduce caregiving pressure and provide opportunities for respite and personal development for women.

 

Case Sharing

Case 1: Connie

Connie, a graduate of the HKFWC Women Incubation Program, transformed from a full-time carer to an entrepreneurial woman. Initially, she made party cookies for family and friends, but now she receives orders from international brands. Connie once believed that working outside the home wasn't a priority for a married woman with children, thinking caregiving and supporting her children's growth was expected. However, she realized this could be a self-imposed limitation or societal expectation.

 

Starting a business was challenging, but Connie and her family continually learned. Initially, her husband had concerns, but eventually, the family supported her entrepreneurial journey. Her husband shared household chores, and her children became more independent. Connie now cherishes every learning opportunity and has gained confidence in problem-solving.

 

Case 2: Ellen

Ellen, a participant in the HKFWC Resilience Enhancement Project, faced significant stress during a family change, caring for two young children while making ends meet. This emotional tension nearly caused her collapse. Referred to HKFWC services by her children's kindergarten social worker, Ellen began to understand her situation, find the right direction for self-help, gain motivation for change, and affirm her self-worth. She started defining herself rather than letting social norms do so.

 

In the past, Ellen believed childcare was solely a mother's responsibility, and she shouldered all responsibilities, impacting her mental well-being. Now, she understands she doesn't have to handle all caregiving tasks alone. Ellen has learned to let go, seek help from others, and utilize resources to care for her children. Participating in various parallel groups and volunteering activities at HKFWC has allowed her to take breaks and strengthen her self-affirmation.

Please click here for the presentation powerpoints at the media conference.


Media Enquiry

Mr Alvin Chung

Senior Development Officer|Development

alvin.chung@womencentre.org.hk
(852) 2153 3153