"I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved." - B. R. Ambedkar, Indian jurist
I often get asked how we are going to tackle gender inequality in Hong Kong. While there is no easy answer, increasing the number of female role models is part of the solution. Role models serve as an important channel for us to challenge norms and redefine success.
Research has shown a strong correlation between women with role models and women with leadership goals. The rise of books such as the Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls Series, have given young women a more diverse range of role models to help imagine futures from astrophysics to the boardroom, but there isn’t as prominent a collection of Hong Kong-specific female leaders.
Despite this, you needn’t look far to find role models: Hong Kong has its own impressive set of female pioneers throughout its history. From former Chief Secretary Anson Chan to film producer and director Ann Hui to windsurfing Olympic gold medallist Lee Lai-shan, women have fought for the underprivileged, made life-changing discoveries, and led the arts and sports sectors.
Last week, we celebrated several of today’s most accomplished women in Hong Kong at the 15th Women of Influence Conference & Awards, organised by The American Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong (AmCham). Drawing on leaders from a diverse range of sectors including the arts, non-profits, entrepreneurs, and business, they gave visibility and voice to women changing the landscape of Hong Kong.
We are thrilled to announce our Board Vice-Chair, Angelina Kwan, was among the winners, named "Leading Woman on Boards" (傑出女董事). With only 14% of female directors for Hang Seng Index companies and around 33% of listed companies having all-male boards, this award is a much-needed recognition of women who make valuable contributions in Hong Kong's business sector.
Other awardees include Marjorie Yang I Esquel, Andrea Fessler I Premiere Performances, S. K. Witcher I Society of Publishers Asia, Elaine Tsung I Garage Society, Sally Begbie I Crossroads Foundation, and Jen Loong I HYPE Asia.
These women – and many others – deserve to have their stories told on a public stage and shared widely in the community. They all inspire us to do more.
The more role models we recognise, the more society will normalise women taking on influential positions as leaders, innovators, and social changemakers, making it easier for future generations to continue – and build on – their legacies.
Let's move the dial on gender equality and put more talented women at the forefront of the Hong Kong community.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.