Policy for Change

"What happened on the road to gender equality? A lot of work happened." Suzanne M. Bianchi, American Sociologist

The world continues to move apace with gender equality at the forefront - here are three encouraging policy developments to keep an eye on:

International Action to Prevent Violence and Harassment in the Workplace: Drawing on the momentum from the #MeToo movement, the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) has adopted a new treaty against workplace violence and harassment. This binding treaty comprehensively aims to protect workers from violence and harassment in places where they are paid, taking a break, eating, or using lavatory facilities. It also covers work-related trips, training, social events, communications, and commuting. There are also specific protections in place for domestic workers and informal workers. It is a powerful statement from the global community, and we look forward to seeing developments and which governments will ratify the treaty.

European Union – Good news for working parents and carers: The European Parliament approved new measures on parental leave, paternity leave, carers leave, and flexible working arrangements in an effort to increase the number of working women and to give all workers more work life balance. The provisions include: 4 months parental leave, 10 days paternity leave, 5 days carers leave, and the right for parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements to which the employer must respond - new rights to some member countries. These policies are a particularly welcome addition to the fight for gender equality at work and at home. 

Hong Kong – ESG Consultation: Last month, TWF was pleased to share that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) issued a public consultation to review the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Guide and related listing rules applicable to Hong Kong listed companies, which emphasises the Board’s leadership role and accountability in ESG and proposes to require disclosure of social KPIs on a "comply or explain" basis.  We are taking a close look at the newly proposed measures and preparing our recommendations.  The deadline for responding is Friday July 19th  and we encourage organisations and individuals to respond to this important consultation. It is an opportunity to highlight the need for greater gender diversity including measurable objectives towards this goal across listed companies.  If you have questions or would like some guidance on your submission, please get in touch at 30percentclub@twfhk.org.

At TWF, we know change comes from both a top-down and bottom up approach, so we have been encouraged by these top-down initiatives in international and regional bodies. We hope Hong Kong will take reference from them as a role model and yardstick to bolster its own policies for a gender equal Hong Kong.

Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.


Written by

The Women's Foundation