I am writing in response to the article, “The road out of poverty and to gender equality in Hong Kong starts at school” (SCMP, February 10). The writer says Hong Kong should increase spending, and use the money to fund unique education programmes for girls, with the goal of keeping them healthy and increasing their autonomy.
There is a large gap between low-income Hong Kong men and women. According to the 2017 census, there were 80,800 men who earned less than HK$6,000 per month, compared to 451,700 women. This shows a huge difference between the two groups and, often, access to education is the cause.
I also believe that Hong Kong’s female politicians, for example, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, can be better role models for young girls. This could help to promote female causes and improve women’s chances of running for public office. Currently, women only make up 15.7 per cent of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, which does not represent gender equality.
I would like to praise celebrities who support feminism, such as Harry Potter star Emma Watson, and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who always speaks up for girls’ education.
I hope Hong Kong can reach gender parity one day.
Chloe Hui, King Ling College
Thank you for your letter, Chloe. We’re lucky to live in a city like Hong Kong, where education is available to all. But providing education isn’t always enough.
Often, outside factors, such as an unstable or unsafe home life, prevent students from being able to reach their full potential at school. And when families are struggling financially, it’s the education of young girls and women which tends to suffer the most.
Setting up special programmes which empower girls and women to speak out if ever they are in danger, and giving them access to resources which can help them, can minimise the disruptions to their education. It can be the difference between a young woman being
able to finish school or not.
I’m glad you are adding your voice to those of inspiring women such as Malala and Emma on this subject.
Charlotte Ames-Ettridge, sub-editor