The TWF office is abuzz with activity preparing for our Annual Gala Dinner this Wednesday! Amidst our excitement, we wanted to briefly reflect on our theme for this year “Reflections on the last 20 - and next 20 - years: what progress for women's advancement”.
Hong Kong has certainly made some milestones in women’s rights over the past two decades with women now exceeding men as graduates from tertiary institutions and our first ever elected woman to Hong Kong’s highest political office. Despite some gains, we still have a long way to go before women and men have equal opportunities, and one of the ways that we’re seeing gender inequality manifest itself is with advances in technology.
At TWF, we are very concerned about increasing the number of girls studying for, and moving into, STEM careers, given this is where the brightest job prospects will be found in the future. We also know that unless there is further intervention most women will not have the necessary skills to take up these STEM-related opportunities and will have fewer career opportunities available to them in general given advances in artificial intelligence that will replace many existing jobs with machines. According to The World Economic Forum, given women’s low participation in STEM professions, women stand to gain only one new STEM job for every 20 lost across other job sectors (vs one new job for every 4 lost elsewhere for men).
In Hong Kong, engrained stereotypes, lack of knowledge and access to opportunities are key barriers to girls pursuing STEM related subjects and careers. This is amplified among girls from underprivileged areas. This is why we launched our Girls Go Tech Programme – to encourage junior secondary school girls from under-privileged backgrounds to pursue STEM subjects. Girls Go Tech uses a comprehensive approach covering three areas: basic coding and computer skills, cognitive skills such as problem solving skills and analytical skills, and increasing confidence around STEM. In three short years, we have grown from serving 3 schools to 13 schools per year and will be training over 500 girls this year with high demand skills and exposing them to invaluable experiences.
Beyond the fanfare, this is what our Gala is about: raising money for our community programmes so that the women and girls who need it most are equipped and empowered to create a better future for themselves and, in turn, who will contribute towards building a brighter future for Hong Kong.
If you haven’t already, take a look at our Silent Auction and Luxury Draw prizes. If you are not attending you still have a chance to support us (and hopefully win!) by placing bids online or purchasing Luxury Draw tickets by emailing Eva.Ling@twfhk.org.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.