The Women's Foundation's Response to the 2019 Policy Address Consultation Paper

In October 2019, The Women's Foundation submitted a response to the Public Consultation to the Policy Address. We are pleased to submit a range of recommendations to Government and believe that our proposals represent a comprehensive set of recommendations for Government to address gender inequality for the long term. We believe that many of our proposals can be actioned at minimal cost for immediate benefit to the women and girls of Hong Kong and our city overall.

Here are some of our specific recommendations:

Holistic approach needed to boost female workforce participation and to increase the number of women in leadership positions: Women’s workforce participation rate is well below regional averages, exacerbated by overt discrimination against working mothers and limited childcare / flexi-work options.

Actions to close Gender Pay Gap: Hong Kong’s gender pay gap is worse than ten years ago. There is insufficient disclosure and organisational commitment to close our gender pay gap which also reflects the low level of female workforce participation and women’s stalled progress as they progress through their careers.

Greater support for women in poverty and address female inequality: Women are still disproportionately employed in lower status jobs and earn lower incomes compared to men. There is a lack of specific consideration of women in Government welfare policies, including the MPF scheme.

Wholesale change around the government mechanism to support women and girls’ advancement in Hong Kong: The Women’s Commission is inadequately staffed, resourced and positioned to drive the integration of gender in legislation, public policies and programmes.

Greater protections and preventative measures around sexual harassment and sexual assault: Laws provide insufficient protection, sexual education curricula are outdated and there are many inhibiting factors for women to utilise existing services.

Stronger, targeted protections for vulnerable groups of women and girls: Ethnic minorities, Foreign Domestic Workers, and LGBT+ communities 

Increase the availability and accessibility of gender disaggregated data: Gender-segregated data maintained by government departments and bureaus are not comprehensive, consistent or always accessible.