Gender equality

How sexism works in Hong Kong, and why we can’t wait 100 years for gender equality

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 6:03pm

I refer to the infographic (“Mind the gender gap: The Good, the Bad and the Parity” August 3), on global gender equality rankings.

There is a common misconception that gender inequality only exists in developing countries. Of course, in an advanced economy like Hong Kong, baby girls are not drowned, young women are not denied education or forced to get married. However, the sad truth is, there is still not a single country in the world which can claim that to have achieved gender parity.

In developed economies like ours, examples of gender inequality are not as blatant but are still everywhere. Women have consistently accounted for the majority of victims in domestic abuse and sexual harassment cases. Barriers at work and the lack of family-friendly policies continue to hold women back in their careers. In government and the corporate sector, women are seriously under-represented in senior management. Female workers are paid less than their male counterparts. Also, deep-rooted gender stereotypes are still prevalent in our society, with sexist advertisements often depicting men and women in prescribed social roles.

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According to the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report in 2017, we are a hundred years away from achieving gender equality. In the present era, in which the world is developing at an exponential rate, it is ridiculous that it will take so long to correct one of the most persistent human rights violations of our time.

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I have always admired the brave women who fought for the rights we enjoy today and take for granted. For example, thanks to the suffragettes, women in Britain were granted the vote 100 years ago.

But the fight for gender equality is still going on. We need to work together to achieve this goal. When women are empowered, the whole of society benefits. When both men and women are liberated from gender stereotypes, both sexes can have the opportunities to be their very best selves.

Jenny Fok, Fanling