Women in Hong Kong
A modern-day woman from Hong Kong: politician, barrister, and writer Dr Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee.
|Gender Inequality Index|
|Maternal mortality (per 100,000)||NA (2010)|
|Women in parliament||NA (2012)|
|Females over 25 with secondary education||68.7% (2010)|
|Women in labour force||51.0% (2011)|
|Global Gender Gap Index|
|Rank||NR out of 136|
|Women in society|
Native women in Hong Kong used to be situated within the context of Chinese family and society, in which they were treated the same as Mainland women or Taiwanese women. Under the traditional Chinese patriarchy structure, the society was male-dominated, and women had a relatively subordinate familial role. However, there is a cultural change difference between Mainland Chinese citizens and citizens of Hong Kong. During the British colonial period the emergence of Western culture (i.e. "Westernization") created a mix of traditional Chinese culture and Western values. This created a unique culture of Hong Kong. Along with the rapid economic and social development of Hong Kong since the end of the Second World War, a significant improvement in the role of women has been witnessed, while the male dominant society structure is still taking in place.In Mainland China, women still take on more traditional Confucian roles. Hence, women studies in Hong Kong are slightly differ from China's, as citizens of Hong Kong often refrain from referring to themselves as Chinese but rather “Hong Kongers”.
Women in Hong Kong are generally more independent, monetarily autonomous, assertive, and career-focused; which makes them seem to be more prominent when comparing with women in some other Southeast Asian countries. With the increase number of women in professional and managerial positions in recent decades, the terms of "female strong person" or "superwomen" are being used to describe women in Hong Kong.
The statistical data from the Hong Kong national census in 2006 shows that the number of women in Hong Kong are increasing, while the number of men in Hong Kong are declining. The figure of single Hong Kong women living alone increased to 43.8 percent comparing with 2001. The numbers were as follows: 103,938 in 1996, 127,001 in 2001, and 182,648, in 2006. The gender ratio between men and women as of 2006 was at 1,000 females for every 912 males, and is expected to deteriorate further by 2036 (1,000 females for every 763 males). The imbalance in the ratio between Hong Kong women and Hong Kong men was already evident in 2003 when there were 1,000 females for every 998 males. The increase of single women in Hong Kong is significant because it is proven that single women’s employment entry pattern is similar to men’s in nature.
Education and career attainment
The implementation of compulsory universal education in 1971, following with an extension to nine years in 1978, give rises to an increased amount of women elites. According to the report of Hong Kong Annual Digest of Statistics by Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, a trend of universalism for boys and girls could be observed since the 1970s; and girls' enrolment rate in general was higher than the boys' since the 1980s. Yet, the gap between male and female enrolment in post-secondary education has not changed much. Women are still appeared to have a lower level of educational attainment by 2011. This can be attributed to the fact that in Hong Kong the men’s education is focused on before the women’s education. If a family does not have enough money to send, both, their son and daughter to school, they will choose to educate the son over the daughter.
Women were in the workforce as early as the 1920’s, but the small population of them often had to fight vigorously for equality of work rights. With the shift of Hong Kong's economy from manufacturing industry to services industry since the 1980s, there is a growing demand for white collar workers. Abundant job opportunities are hence available for both men and women. Employment in Hong Kong can be enjoyed by women, who possess rights, such as maternity protection and sick leave. Nevertheless, women in Hong Kong are aware of the difficulties they face in being a woman in the workforce. For example, when surveyed, both men and women working in Hong Kong stated that they preferred to have a male supervisor over a woman supervisor.
A woman’s duty within the household is to serve her family, in particular the men. Traditionally, she is expected to serve her father as a child, her husband throughout her married life, and her son(s) when she reaches old age. The men tend to external matters within the public sphere, whereas the majority of women remain at home and care for their children. Due to the cultural belief of male superiority within Hong Kong, there is a lot of pressure placed upon women to produce male offspring, despite her economic status and level of education. Until recently, women who were unable to bear a son to her family were viewed as defective, and were often divorced.
Because so many women feel that caring for their children is strictly their responsibility, they rarely go to their husbands for additional help. This creates issues for women who work outside of their homes. In order to provide adequate care for their children while maintaining full-time jobs in the workforce, working/middle class women will take advantage of stay-at-home caretakers. Caretakers work around the clock for very low wages, making them both reliable and affordable.
When referencing family life, it is critical to note the importance of Korean TV dramas and the impacts they have had within both Eastern and Western cultures. Dramas tend to emphasize the significance of family life, and emulate both traditional Confucianist values and modern Cosmopolitan lifestyles that capture the attention of primarily female audiences. Women in Eastern cities such as Hong Kong are especially infatuated with them due to their customary, yet glamourous appeal. They embody romance, gender relations, fashion, business, and other aspects significant to our day-to-day lives.
Marriage and the Workforce
A large number of women will enter into the labor force following their education However, there is a substantial dropout rate after marriage and/or childbearing Women feel a sense of obligation to their families and households, and as a result only a small amount of women will return to their occupations. One trend to note is that both males and females are getting married later in life This is mainly due to the desire to be more independent, not just in the business world but in all areas of life  Women in Hong Kong can attest to this. Traditionally, women have been underestimated, and viewed as inadequate members of society. They have a harder time getting hired by major companies, and as a result are not able to contribute much to their families monetarily speaking. By delaying marriage, women are more likely to pursue full-time and higher paying occupations This is why there are more unmarried women in the workforce than married. These women tend to be older, and obtain higher levels of education 
Marriage in Hong Kong is becoming based on happiness and romantic satisfaction as opposed to the traditional expectation to stay with one's spouse, regardless of the situation  Women now have more of a say in who they wish to marry, and if the marriage does not work out according to planned, are able to openly consider divorce  Traditional marriage values are becoming less important. In general, divorce has become relatively common and socially acceptable  Consequently, more individuals in Hong Kong than ever before are single. However, it is important to note that in China marriage is based on strong family ties and relationships, despite any lack of romance  Therefore, if one were to propose divorce, he or she would risk losing all contact with family  Divorce is a shameful act-it is avoided at all costs.
Since 1991, the LGBT movement in Hong Kong began to rise with the legalization of same sex marriage. The Women's Coalition of Hong Kong is an LBGT organization that was founded in 2002. This group was responsible for drafting the government's Sex Discrimination bill in 1995. The bill advocated for women's legal, political, and economic rights.
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Notes: Several chapters are dedicated to the historical status of women in Hong Kong.
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