Research is Key

Research propels society forward. It stems from curiosity and a desire to make the world a better place. It lays the ground work, busts myths and inspires new conversations and actions - ultimately breaking barriers for change.

Research is a cornerstone of The Women’s Foundation. It informs our policy direction, our programmes and our campaigns. We focus on Hong Kong-specific gaps, trends and barriers, but are also informed by global influences and challenges to women’s rights and gender equality as a whole.

Here are two interesting pieces of recently released research:

Danish headquartered Lego Group pledges to go gender neutral: Lego has committed to making its products gender neutral after they commissioned research on creative play and future careers by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that showed deeply rooted gender stereotypes among children and parents across seven countries. Findings include that 74% of boys and 62% of girls believe that some activities are just meant for girls, while other activities are just meant for boys. 71% of boys (versus 42% of girls) worry about being made fun of if they play with a toy associated with the other gender. Parents were nearly six times as likely to think of scientists and athletes as men than women and over eight times as likely to think of engineers as men than women. Numerous pieces of research have shown the deleterious effects of gender stereotyped toys on children’s psychological growth with some government’s taking note. Earlier this month, the US state of California passed a bill that will require retailers to display toys in a gender neutral way. It is heartening to see Lego’s response to these research findings and we urge other toy companies will follow suit.

New research on the impact of menopause at work: On Monday, Standard Chartered Bank released a report on “Menopause in the Workplace” in partnership with Financial Services Skills Commission to explore how menopausal symptoms affect women working in financial services (FS). According to the report, 80% of menopausal women and trans men do not disclose their menopause status at work primarily due to fear of social stigma; 25% of respondents who are currently experiencing the menopause said it made them more likely to leave the workforce with 22% more likely to leave the workforce before retirement. At TWF, we are continuing to look into ways to promote awareness to employers on how to effectively support employees going through menopause. Since our blog and interview a few months ago, we have seen increased attention on the menopause in Hong Kong and overseas. With Hong Kong’s shrinking workforce and rapidly ageing population, retaining female talent has never been more critical, and providing support for their natural life cycles must necessarily be a part of that.

At TWF, we are inspired by important new areas of research across the globe and how we can apply the findings to Hong Kong’s gender equality landscape. We embed this ethos in all of our work – from our first-of-its-kind masculinities research to our research examining why girls do not pursue male-dominated STEM subjects and careers. These findings are then used to shape our programmes and advocacy. Research will continue as our foundation for action to close the gender gap and we look forward to working with our community and continuing to break barriers for change.

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The Women's Foundation