2017 has been a momentous year for gender diversity globally and also in Hong Kong.
As the year comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on some of the global milestone moments:
We started the year with a spirit of skepticism. Globally, many pundits predicted we would see little progress on gender equality—from The Guardian's Why 2017 won't be the year women get paid the same as men to Edelman's Trust Barometerreport which showed that Hong Kong had reached an all-time low in lack of trust in government, media and businesses.
As the year moved on, there have been bright spots for women and girls. The Women’s March – a protest that originated in response to remarks and policies by U.S. President Donald Trump, grew to be a several million person-strong platform for global solidarity around women’s rights. In Hong Kong, we elected our first female Chief Executive, a move that we hope will spur more women to run for public office and to run companies in Hong Kong. Later in the year, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited released a Consultation Paper on the Review of the Corporate Governance Code including Board Diversity that we hope will lead to real increases in the number of women on Boards in Hong Kong.
We have seen increased momentum in the involvement of men in the dialogues, planning and action to advance women. MenCare, a global fatherhood campaign, released their powerful new film “Join the Movement" to show how involved fatherhood can improve the lives of children, women and men. Closer to home, the men of our groundbreaking TWF Male Allies Initiative are playing a leading role in the creation of more gender equal work environments.
But the most momentous change started with women decrying instances of sexual harassment and assault in the high profile Harvey Weinstein case leading to the global #MeToo movement. We have seen an unprecedented number of women and men—including in Hong Kong—speaking out for change. And it’s not over yet. We are seeing a global revolution in attitudes and discussion around sexual harassment that we must harness to drive systemic and sustainable change.
This revolution is so powerful that the Silence Breakers were named as Time’s Person of the Year: “These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced.”
At TWF we are proud of our achievements in 2017. Our TEEN Programme for underprivileged teens, Employability Programme for marginalised women, and Girls Go Tech Programme for girls in some of Hong Kong’s most under-resourced districts have encouraged women and girls in 2017 to challenge gender stereotypes, broaden their horizons and aspire to greater economic self-reliance. We have worked to engage with men to champion gender equality through TWF Male Allies, 30% Club Hong Kong and other events and initiatives. 2017 saw the launch of our Girls & STEM research, our Best Practice Guide on Success Markers for Effective Unconscious Gender Bias Strategies, and our #Myrealcareerline campaign to invite organisations and individuals to make a stand against casual sexism, objectification and inequality.
In 2018, we will continue in our mission to advance women and girls in Hong Kong through new research, new ideas and new initiatives—stay tuned! And we look forward to working with you all as our TWF community to build a more inclusive, more equitable Hong Kong as part of this historic global movement for change.
As always, drop me a line with your feedback or ideas at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.