LEGAL backing for women's rights has been delayed by the Government's consultation exercise on the issue, the Association of Business and Professional Women claims. Despite the endorsement of legislators for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Government has decided to consult the public before finalising its policy. An inter-departmental working group is working on a green paper, due out this year, which would state the options for protecting the rights of women. ''It is totally unnecessary to take months to create a green paper to consult the public on an issue which has been widely agreed by the people of Hongkong,'' said Miss Catherine Ng Wah-hung, a spokesman for the association. Many women's groups had called for legislative protection for women and many legislators agreed that Hongkong should ratify the CEDAW, she added. But the Principle Assistant Secretary (Youth) of the City and New Territories Administration, Miss Susie Ho Shuk-yee, said the Government had no intention of delaying the move. She said there was a need to gauge public opinion and educate the public on the women's rights before legislation was enacted. The report will look at extending CEDAW and the formation of a Women's Commission.