Close battle over equality issue

Wong Yat-hei

Ming Kei College just gets the nod taking the negative against Hioe Tjo Yeong College, with the adjudicators impressed with debaters

Wong Yat-hei |

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Kelvin Wong makes a point presenting the negative side during the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition.

CCC Ming Kei College and YWCA Hioe Tjo Yeong College met in the fifth round of the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition. The motion was: “Hong Kong isn’t doing enough to ensure gender equality.”

Ming Kei took the negative while Hioe Tjo Yeong debated the affirmative view.

The debate took place on Monday at CCC Ming Kei College, with Tanya Kempston, a teaching consultant at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Education, and Stephen Farmer, an English teacher from Pui Yak Canossian College, as adjudicators.

Hioe Tjo Yeong said Hong Kong could do better to enhance gender equality. They presented evidence showing that fewer women than men hold top management positions and women are less involved in politics than men.

Ming Kei replied that it is not a perfect world and absolute equality is not possible. Speakers said Hong Kong had done enough to ensure gender equality.

Both parties did an excellent job with their research and presented statistics concerning gender equality in the city to support their case.

The affirmative said only 21 per cent of top management positions were held by women. The negative said this figure was not bad compared with world standards.

“In Hong Kong, women make up 45 per cent of the labour force. We also have distinguished female figures in politics such as [former chief secretary] Anson Chan Fang On-sang, legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and [National People’s Congress Standing Committee member] Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai,” said Kelvin Wong, the second speaker for the negative.

Justin Chan Wing-ching, also for the negative, said: “One third of HK lawmakers are female but women make up only 17 per cent of the US Congress. Hong Kong also has the third highest paid female civil servants in the world.”

Kempston said: “All debaters made an effort to react to their opponents’ speeches. They were able to make sensible rebuttals.”

In the end, Ming Kei was named the winner. Farmer was especially impressed with Justin. “He had eye contact, was able to summarise his team’s case effectively and provided good statistics,” he said.

Kempston urged debaters to try to build a relationship with the audience as they speak. “Make use of rhetorical questions, gestures and eye contact to get the audience on your side. Try to own the space when you speak.”

The contest is organised by the Native English-speaking Teachers’ Association and the South China Morning Post.