Gripes aplenty but women value jobs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, 12:00am

A large majority of working women say they want to keep their jobs despite problems such as lack of time with their families, stress, health woes and overeating.

A survey of 600 women by a workers' group found 70 per cent wanted to keep working for reasons that included saving money, achieving higher status and keeping in touch with the outside world.

The poll by the Neighbourhood and Worker's Service Centre, at the end of last month, found 44 per cent said they went to work to ease their family's financial burden.

Thirty-one per cent said the biggest adverse impact of being working women was having no time with families, followed by not having time to enjoy life or continue studies (24 per cent) and deteriorating health (20 per cent).

Thirty-seven per cent said they lived a harder life than men because their families expected them to do housework after coming home, while 21 per cent cited female physiological issues such as period pain.

The centre said the survey showed working women felt their work, stress and physiological problems were overlooked by society and more ought to be done to help them. 'Not only should minimum pay and maximum working hours be implemented quickly, we should also encourage enterprises to arrange menstruation holidays for female employees and paternity leave for males. Here, the government could set an example first,' spokesman Wan Siu-kin said.

Another survey of working women found nearly half would consume more or eat desserts as a means to ease stress, with chocolate the most preferred choice, followed by fruit and peanuts.

Organised by the Central and Western District Women's Association and backed by RTHK, the survey of 502 women found 60 per cent cited not having time as the main reason for not exercising more. Nearly three-quarters cited work as their principal source of stress, with just more than half saying they would rest or sleep to reduce stress, one-third would shop and 29 per cent would read.

A third survey, undertaken by the Democratic Party, found women spent on average more than $1,000 a month on clothes and beauty products; nearly 20 per cent of the group admitted to spending more than $2,000 a month.

The survey of 450 women also found more than one-third said skin care commercials would cause them to spend more on beauty products, while 76 per cent of those participating in body slimming exercises shared similar views.