The office is buzzing with preparations for next week’s Gala Dinner and we look forward to seeing many of you there.
This event is critical in terms of raising funds to expand the reach and impact of our programmes but it also offers an opportunity to showcase the breadth of issues we focus on that are adversely impacting the women and girls of this city. Tackling these issues requires collaboration with all sectors which underpins everything we do, so it is in this spirit that we examined the Chief Executive’s Policy Address.
Here are four highlights we think have the potential to help advance gender equality in Hong Kong:
- Increased funding for women’s focused projects: We were heartened to learn of the substantial increase in funding for the Women’s Commission as well as the establishment of a Women Empowerment Fund to subsidise community projects that enable women to be better able to balance work and family commitments, which may provide a much-needed boost to our female workforce participation rate.
- Greater recognition of and support for carers: TWF has long advocated for more comprehensive support for carers – the majority of who are women, and so we were pleased to see plans for launching a one stop information platform and hotline service as well as a focus on awareness raising and peer support for them, among other reforms.
- Focus on STEAM Education: Whilst TWF welcomes the society focus on innovation and educational focus on enhancing STEAM education in schools, including teacher training and incorporation of critical tech elements such as artificial intelligence into the curricula we do feel adopting a gender sensitive approach to this planning would increase its efficacy and overall objectives around inclusivity.
- Poverty alleviation efforts among youth: The collaborative efforts to provide underprivileged students with mentorship, financial support and development opportunities is much needed, particularly given the difficulties students faced – and continue to face --throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst we very much welcome these efforts, we also hope this type of support will be extended to other vulnerable populations such as single mothers below the poverty line.
We also note the establishment of a new Chief Executive Policy Unit to research and advocate on strategic issues and we urge the Government to include the advancement of gender equality as a strategic priority and apply a gender lens to the issues that it examines.
At TWF, we firmly believe that tackling gender inequality will help Hong Kong prosper as a whole. Gender equality is critical to building and sustaining a thriving society. Having gender equal rights and opportunities, cultivating healthy relationships, and promoting the health, education, safety and well-being of everyone, all contribute to building a solid foundation from which to pursue sustainable economic growth and social development.
We will continue advocating for areas that require more attention such as stronger protections for victims of sexual violence, tackling gender stereotypes, age discrimination and women’s health taboos, and other areas that we outlined in our consultation response.
We look forward to working with the Government, business and other stakeholders to close these critical gaps.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.