Work problems have surpassed family issues to top women’s list of troubles, according to a survey by the Hong Kong Ladies Dynamic Association last month.
The association, which polled 554 women aged above 16, found that more than a third of them were deprived of rest and emotionally unstable.
Of the respondents, 55 per cent cited work as their source of distress, followed by 44 per cent citing family.
The findings were a shift from a similar survey conducted in 2006, in which family issues topped women’s list of troubles.
At the time, 45 per cent of more than 500 respondents cited family as a major stress factor. Forty-two per cent blamed their own negative personalities for their troubles. Work problems, cited by 39 per cent of the respondents, ranked third.
“Women have an increasingly important part to play in society and the economy. But their role in the family remains unchanged. This means they are facing twice the levels of stress,” the association’s president, Lau Kwai-yung, said.
Lau, a Yuen Long district councillor, related the case of a single mother who got drunk in an attempt to alleviate her stress from a change in jobs.
The lack of childcare and after-school services for children was also a big stress factor for working mothers, she said.
According to the Census and Statistics Department, women made up 54.5 per cent of the city’s labour force last year, with 1.87 million working women above the age of 15. This compared with 52.6 per cent, or 1.62 million women, in 2005.
Sophie Lun, a working mother of two, says she gets just five hours of sleep a day.
The Tung Chung resident commutes four hours daily to her workplace, a welfare organisation in To Kwa Wan.
“I work until 8pm or 9pm every day. I feel a sense of guilt towards my children,” she said.
Lun’s husband and two sons – in Primary Six and Form Four – do not share in doing the household chores, except for preparing dinners over the weekends.
And the stress of balancing career and family has caused her to suffer from insomnia, she said.
The association suggested the government offer free health checks for women and to increase the availability of childcare services.