A SUNDAY Morning Post report on age discrimination is being studied by legislators trying to gauge the extent of prejudice against older job-seekers. The report, published in last week's edition, was circulated during a Bills Committee hearing on Anna Wu Hung-yuk's Equal Opportunities Bill and the government's rival Sex Discrimination Bill last week. Ms Wu congratulated the Sunday Post for drawing back the curtain on discrimination. 'I am delighted that the issue has finally been highlighted. It is disturbing how few people are aware of how serious the problem of discrimination is,' Ms Wu said. 'Raising awareness is the first step. Now we need to take action. We need to stop putting up barriers against older people and help them to be self-reliant so they won't need to rely on state benefits. 'Equal opportunities is not giving something away, it's about helping ourselves as a community.' The issue of discrimination against middle-aged and elderly people dominated discussions between legislators and non-government organisations. Mongkok Neighbourhood Association representatives called for the Government to pass comprehensive anti-discriminatory measures and give them adequate unemployment benefits. Last week's article also brought a flood of enquiries from employers offering jobs to women who spoke out about age discrimination. Mok Miu-ying, of the Women Workers Association, was delighted by the positive response and said she would pass the job offers to older women looking for work. 'All too often, middle-aged women are depicted as being burdened with family problems, or so focused on other things that their minds are not on their jobs. That's definitely not the case,' she said. 'We need to tell all potential employers that there are women out there who are highly qualified and that youth is not everything.' But other employers - who contacted Sunday Post in the wake of the article - said older employees were 'stable' and 'mature'. 'Usually, when we hire young people, they get tired of a junior secretarial position very quickly and leave after three months,' said Joseph Yu Kwok-yiu, General Manager and Director of Pan Asian Oasis Inc, a Chinese trading company. Mr Yu said he had repeatedly tried and failed to find women between 30 and 40 years of age from employment agencies. Wan Chai management company Univan also contacted Sunday Post in search of an older employee. 'Age is not an issue, what matters is reliability and the right qualifications,' a spokesman said. The manager of a French trading company and an American marketing firm, Rosalind Choong Pee-nyuk, contacted Sunday Post in search of 'mature and worthy' women. Ms Choong believes women returning to the workforce after raising a family are ideal candidates. 'They have had great experience managing a family. They are assets and should not be penalised when they return to the workforce,' she said. 'I've had my share of training young people to work for me only to have them leave after learning all that I have to teach. It's very frustrating. I need someone who is willing to make a commitment.' Pong Mui-fan, a nurse who spoke of the misery of looking for work at the age of 40 in last week's article, found it hard to believe the response. 'There really are people out there looking for someone my age with my qualifications?' she said. 'After all I have been through, it seems too good to be true.'