China's 'Two Sessions' 2016

Hong Kong group wants more women to be part of consultation bodies

It also calls for a higher status for Women’s Commission within government structure, and for organisation to expand its areas of concern

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2017, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2017, 10:26pm

A women’s group which recently met the two leading chief executive candidates has called for the government to increase the proportion of women in consultation bodies and to raise the status of the Women’s Commission.

“Women are under-represented in consultation bodies. Currently less than 30 per cent [in those bodies are] women; we want that to increase to at least 30 per cent,” said Connie Wong Wai-ching, honorary president of the All-China Women’s Federation Hong Kong Delegates Association. The body has more than 20 seats in the 1,194-member Election Committee that will choose the next chief executive.

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“Women are also under-represented at the top level of government,” Wong added. “Even when Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was chief secretary, she was the only woman in the cabinet. We hope there will be more women at the top level of government in the future.”

She was in Beijing attending meetings of the country’s top legislative and consultative bodies, the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as a member of the CPPCC. The Election Committee member was speaking to the Post to promote women’s interests in Hong Kong for International Women’s Day.

Chief executive hopefuls Lam and John Tsang Chun-wah met the association separately on March 2, while another candidate, former judge Woo Kwok-hing, declined its invitation.

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“At the moment, the Women’s Commission is under the Labour and Welfare Bureau,” Wong said. “I would like it to be under the chief secretary’s office in the future. The work of the commission is also quite narrow – I think we should consider expanding its areas of concern.”

The association started in 2009 with more than 300 Hong Kong members of the All-China Women’s Federation and their associates. Members are mostly female “elites” in the business, professional, science, education and financial sectors.

Wong also urged the government to provide more measures for women who are working professionals and from the middle class. “Working women at more senior levels contribute a lot to the economy, and they also have to support their families,” she said.