The women's movement recognises it will be a long battle. They hope that Hong Kong women are prepared to support them in the fight. COPIES of the Green Paper on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in Hong Kong have been printed and are about to be circulated within the civil service. A hot-off-the-press copy awaits the final perusal of the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Michael Suen Ming-yeung, when he returns from holiday next Monday, and publication of the document is expected within the next two weeks. Widespread interest in the Green Paper has pressured the bureaucrats in the City and New Territories Administration to publish the document as soon as possible, especially in a political climate where Governor Chris Patten needs all the good news he can find for his Legco address in October. ''We hope to release the Green Paper by the end of this month, or early in September,'' said a spokeswoman for the CNTA yesterday. ''Mr Suen has to approve the final copy. He will hold a press conference to answer questions on the paper. ''There will be a four-month period of consultation, to December 31. We can't say anything more now. We have to stick to the deadlines.'' It is understood, however, that the document consists of 50 pages of discussion options, plus appendices, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Special emphasis has been placed on better educational opportunities for women, options to help create a non-discriminatory environment on the job and the arguments for equal pay. Particular attention is given to the differentials in pay that arise for women as they progress in their careers. In Hong Kong, like most other advanced societies, women begin their careers on equal salary terms but fall behind in achievements when they have children, or are forced to take time out of their jobs because of family responsibilities. Acting Governor and Chief Secretary Sir David Ford, said in the Sunday Morning Post this week that equal pay will be a priority issue in the Green Paper. ''We will be tuned in very carefully to what the community has to say. We do not have a closed mind,'' he said. It remains a conviction, among women's groups that this will be a difficult battle to win. While the Government might be committed to non-discriminatory treatment in the workplace, including equal pay for equal work, most private employers are not so enthusiastic about the idea. Figures to December 1991 show that the median income for women in Hong Kong represents 77 per cent of the annual salaries earned by male workers. This represents a 12 per cent improvement for female workers from a decade earlier, and to a large degree isa true reflection of the battle for equal pay internationally. Hong Kong, however, is different. And that is not simply stating the obvious. As both a regional and international economic hub, private sector employers have to pay salaries higher than any other equivalent city in the region to attract top calibre staff. Based on statistics alone, at least 20 per cent of these highly paid employees have to be women. Although only limited information is available on the breakdown of pay scales, based on gender, for private sector employers, experience from other countrieswould suggest that most of these women are not as well rewarded as their male counterparts. If equal opportunity legislation is passed in Hong Kong, the ramifications of the new law are obvious. Apart from the likelihood of improved conditions such as longer paid maternity leave, and equal access to pension schemes and expense account benefits,underpaid women might chose to fight their cases in the courts. It only would take one of these high-profile female workers to fight their bosses and win to open the floodgates for Hong Kong companies. This would add millions of dollars to annual salary budgets of those, from banks and insurance companies to service industries like hotels and restaurants. The women's movement recognises it will be a long battle. They hope that Hong Kong women are prepared to support them in the fight.