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Gender equality

Hong Kong’s bias against hiring mothers reflects wider social prejudices against working women

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 1:01pm

I refer to the letter from Dr Ryan Whalen, “How Hong Kong’s parental leave policy deepens the bias against hiring women”, August 28).

Dr Whalen was responding to the article on a study that found fewer than half of Hong Kong employers wanted to hire women with children, even if they were as competent as other applicants. So women with children are treated differently just because of their family status. This is due to the widely held belief that women ought to focus on taking care of children, not on earning money or having a career.

Hong Kong must act to end ‘motherhood penalty’ for workers

I was reminded of a Women’s Commission survey in 2011, titled “What do women and men in Hong Kong think about the status of women at home, work and in social environments?” It found that over half of society thought “women should focus more on family than work”, and almost 40 per cent of respondents agreed that “men’s job was to earn money while women’s job was to do household work and take care of the family”.

This highlights the level of discrimination against women workers in Hong Kong society. Employers are also a part of this society, and are influenced by its commonly held norms.

Dickie Ng, Tseung Kwan O