The number of female civil servants in Hong Kong has seen a slow but steady increase since Rachel Cartland joined in 1972, with women taking on more senior roles both in the administration and executive sides of government in recent years.
Cartland was just one of two female civil servants in the city that year. Now, women make up 36 per cent of its staff, numbering 57,560 out of 160,663.
A new poll shows many recruiters believe companies can be more successful by promoting more women.
The findings were part of global recruiter Randstad's eighth annual World of Work report, which covers Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Australia and New Zealand, that surveyed 14,000 employers and professionals.
Nearly half of female human resource managers in Hong Kong said that having more women in leadership roles was a critical success factor for organisations.
Meanwhile, the top three drawcards for women were: a competitive salary; leadership and career development; and training.
The main motivators to perform well and stay with an employer boiled down to having a strong feeling of being valued and recognised by their boss, with one in five respondents saying they wanted a strong understanding of how their work contributed to the company's overall goals.
One in two women said workplace flexibility would make them happier, but just one in four had this option.
"Female respondents report that their career ambitions are just as high as their male peers, but female workforce participation has remained at around 50 per cent in recent years, which is seen in part due to a lack of subsidised maternity leave and childcare, limiting workforce growth across much of Asia," said Nicole Lui, associate director for Randstad Hong Kong.