Women's groups predict failure of Green Paper

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 September, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 September, 1993, 12:00am

A LEADING women's group yesterday criticised the Government consultation paper on sexual equality and called for a commission to be established to protect women's rights.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, Angela Chan Sin-yee, said the Green Paper on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men was unlikely to achieve any change.

''Any social change involves changes in behaviour and attitude. If people maintain traditional beliefs it will be useless to consult their opinion,'' she said.

The Green Paper, released last month, was intended to raise public awareness on the issue of sex discrimination and to mobilise community support for sexual equality.

But Miss Chan said the consultation paper did not paint a true picture of the situation in Hong Kong.

''Figures have been quoted to paint a rosy picture of equality, but the real situations of discrimination are not truly reflected or explained.

''In fact, the whole idea of having a Green Paper is useless. It can neither change the behaviour, which needs government legislation, nor the attitudes, which involves education,'' Miss Chan said.

Instead, the group urged the Government to take more positive action to promote equal opportunities, such as setting up a women's commission.

They also demanded the introduction of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Hong Kong as soon as possible.

CEDAW, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, imposes obligations on state governments to identify and to formulate strategies to eliminate existing discrimination.

''Even China has adopted CEDAW. I don't see any reason for Hong Kong to keep out from doing so. We will demonstrate and lobby in order to achieve our objectives,'' Miss Chan said.