Men get raw deal, claims watchdog
Social services policies should be made fairer to men, the equality watchdog said yesterday.
Releasing a report of a study on the impact of gender stereotyping on males, the Equal Opportunities Commission said the present policies were biased towards women.
Frederick Fung Kin-kee, convenor of the commission's policy and research committee, said the Women's Commission should be turned into a commission for sex equality to push for gender-sensitive policies.
'Society and even the government often view women as the weaker link and make policies based on this,' he said. 'Many policies and plans protect women's basic rights. There is a Women's Commission but no men's commission, showing the inclination of the government's values,' he said.
The study, conducted by the gender research centre of the Chinese University's Institute of Asia Pacific Studies last year, included questionnaires for 340 people, 10 focus group discussions and nine interviews involving 71 men.
While women complained more about specific work problems, men said they felt bound by traditional stereotypes to be strong and successful in their careers.
The survey found that 40 per cent of men were stressed by deadlines, 36 per cent by their workload and 32 per cent by the type of job they were doing. The figures for women found 50 per cent were worried about making deadlines, 47 per cent by their workload and 52 per cent by the kind of jobs they did.
Deputy convenor Dr John Tse Wing-ling said women faced greater pressure in work because they also had to take care of family and children. Men also suffered but felt they could not complain.
'In the past, men were considered successful if they had a job. Now, if my wife's job is better than mine, I am less successful,' he said.
As well as stereotypes, men from the focus groups and interviews told the committee that they faced problems in finance and relationships.
But the study found that as the economy changed, men did not have an absolute advantage in the job market.
It recommended that the government develop gender-sensitive social service policies and take differences between the sexes into consideration in developing these policies. Policies would include setting up male specialist clinics, counselling services for men, shelters for abused men and introducing sex-equality education in schools.
A full report of the study will be submitted to the government within a month.
The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said the government will study the report and continue to promote equal opportunities
The percentage of men who said they were stressed out by deadlines in a Chinese University study