How is Hong Kong progressing on gender equality?
Over the past decades, Hong Kong has witnessed a positive change in terms of gender equality in many aspects of life. Breaking through the stereotypes about men and women, more females are encouraged to participate in the workforce and governmental departments. However, there exist limitations regarding payment inequity, education attainment, and under-representation of women in the government.
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.
— Kofi Annan
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…it is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideas.
— Emma Watson
In Hong Kong, Women appear to have lower level of educational attainment than men. This is because older generation women generally had a smaller chance of receiving education when they were young. Among the female population aged 15 and over in 2017, 79.0% had attended secondary education and above, as against 85.1% for their male counterparts. The corresponding proportions for women and men in 1986 were 50.0% and 61.0% respectively. Along with the increase in educational opportunities for women, the difference in educational attainment between women and men had gradually narrowed in the past 3 decades.
Location: Hong Kong
Over the years, Hong Kong has seen significant progress eliminating the labor force participation gap between men and women
Overall, both males and females are becoming more economically active. It is noticeable that more females are becoming economically active, decreasing the sex difference in labor force participation of Hong Kong.
However, it is important to note that there are more women than men in general. The rising participation rate of females in the economy cannot assumed that women are given equal employment activities. Considering the Economically Inactive category, females are still notably more than males, and the gender gap remain unchanged over the years.
Is gender pay inequality a problem in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong suffers from the problem of gender pay gap just like anywhere else. Despite being an international finance centre that prides itself on a fair and open business environment, the city still sees its working women earn at least thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts on average, according to government figures.
The monthly employment earnings of employed persons increased significantly in the past 3 decades, with the median monthly employment earnings rising from $2,800 in 1986 to $15,500 in 2017. In particular, the number of employed persons
with monthly employment earnings of $20,000 and over increased remarkably during the period. In general, the median monthly employment earnings of female employed persons was lower than that of their male counterparts. The median
monthly employment earnings of female employed persons was $13,000 in 2017 while that for males was $19,000. The difference could be attributed to a host of factors including the differences between female and male employed persons
in respect of industrial and occupational distributions, hours of work, educational attainment, working experience and nature of work.
Compared to their female counterparts, a higher proportion of male employed persons worked as managers, administrators, professionals and associate professionals who had higher monthly employment earnings than other occupational groups. On the other hand, a relatively higher proportion of female employed persons was engaged in clerical support workers and elementary occupations which offered relatively lower monthly employment earnings.
In Hong Kong, women and men have equal right to vote and stand for elections. Whilst there were still far more male than female candidates who stood for election as members of different Government Councils, the number of female candidates had registered significant growth over the past 2 decades or so.
Except for the age group 71 and over, the turnout rates for both sexes were broadly similar across all age groups in recent years. Males aged 71 and over still had higher turnout rates than their female counterparts in various elections.
The Government provides supports to members of the community who are in need of financial or material assistance to address their basic needs through a non-contributory social security system. The number of females receiving various types of assistance is in general more than that of males.