PIONEER INITIATIVE TO BRING ALL SECTORS ON FAMILY FRIENDLY POLICIES AT WORKPLACE
Hong Kong as one of the most well developed global financial centers is far lagging behind in terms of female participants in the workforce especially at the senior level. Only 1 in 7 board of directors of HKEx listed companies is female that is far behind other developed countries in the region. In 2017 only 55% of the women in Hong Kong are in the workforce comparing to Mainland China (61.5%), Singapore (59.8%) and Japan (69.7%). Gender biases, social and family pressures for women to be primary carers, and the lack of work-life balance are among some reasons why women don’t stay in the workforce.
On May 10, the first ever roundtable event in Hong Kong to bring together stakeholders from governmental, civil, corporate, social and professional sectors to discuss and to put forward more family friendly workplaces in Hong Kong. The event was kicked off by the conveyer of the event, Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs Founder, Ms. Lena Wong, shared her own career challenge with the dilemma of choosing full commitment to career or completed dedication to family. “My options seem limited, either I am a 24/7 mother or I am a fully committed professional in the battle field,” remarked Wong at the Opening.
A diverse panel was invited to drill into the issues and challenges of having family friendly workplaces in Hong Kong. Ms. Fiona Nott of The Women’s Foundation, Ms. Sindy Leung of HK Association of Business and Professional Women, Prof. Joyce L. C. Ma of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ms. Eunice Yung of Legislative Council of Hong Kong moderated by Ms. Tonia Wong Kee of Bank of America. The panel brought inspiration from government intervention to corporate involvement as well as the social and civil sectors participations.
The recent proposal from one of the professional bodies to provide financial subsidy to their members in supporting for their maternity and paternity leave was a good start. “We (Barristers) are not entitled to any paid maternity leave as we are self employed; yet we still have to pay for the chamber overhead while being away from the job when the baby was born,” Legislative Council member, also a barrister, Yung shared, “Although it is still in consulting period, I look forward to see how this may bring positive effects to other professional bodies.”
Family friendly policies do not only consider those who have children; family care also include elderly care. “Women are often the major caretakers in any household so we often see many women left their career not only for the children but also for the aging elderly at home,” said, Nott, CEO of The Women’s Foundation which recently launched a report of “Eldercare Hong Kong: The Projected Societal Cost of Eldercare in Hong Kong 2018 – 2060”. With the population of eldercare recipients set to more than double from 5% to 11% by 2060, the cost to society will increase by 6 times from HK$38.8 billion to HK$222.4 billion and the cost to individuals quadruple from HK$1.8 billion to HK$7.2 billion, with women sharing a greater proportion of the cost as 62% of caregivers are expected to be women in 2060.
The event wrapped up with a full participations from the audiences which also were invited to take part and discuss on the real actions each stakeholders can do in bringing Hong Kong more family friendly workplaces. “Being the first employee in the office being pregnant and giving birth, I had 10 month to plan and to discuss with my boss about what I may need at the office including a nursing room and flexible working hour,” suggested by one participant from the social innovation sector, “an employee also needs to be vocal about your need and communicate well with the management. At the end you also have a responsibility to fight for your own rights.”
With participants from various sectors and diverse background, the Future Work in Hong Kong was well received and concluded with practical plan of actions each could bring home. This pioneer initiative was conveyed by Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs, a non profit organization supporting moms and families by educating entrepreneurship and engaging children’s involvement in parents’ works. Advocacy on policies regarding women empowerment and family issues is among one of the missions of the organization.
For more information on the organizer, please visit: www.hkmomtrepreneurs.com
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Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs Limited
For event photos: CLICK HERE
香港作為最優越的環球金融中心之一，在女性勞動力參與者方面遠遠落後，特別是在高層職位方面。 香港交易所上市公司中只有七分之一的董事會成員是女性，遠遠落後於其他已發展城市。 2017年，與中國大陸（61.5％），新加坡（59.8％）和日本（69.7％）相比，香港只有55％的女性從事勞動力。 性別偏見、社會和家庭壓力、缺乏工作與生活的平衡等等都是婦女不留在工作崗位的一些原因。
5月10日，香港首次將政府、企業、社會及專業各界人士聚集在一起，開了一個圓桌會議，討論並提出更多的家庭友善政策。 此次活動由香港創業媽媽創始人 王茵媚女士拉開序幕，分享了自己的職業挑戰，提出了對職業的全面投入或完全致力於家庭的困境。在開幕式上，王茵媚表示：「我的選擇似乎有限，我似乎只可選擇做一位24/7的母親，或者是一個在職場上完全忠誠的專業人士：兩者只可選其一。」
大會邀請不同界別的嘉賓探討在香港建立家庭友善工作場所的問題和挑戰，嘉賓當中有婦女基金會行政總裁 樂鳳蘭女士，香港商業及專業女性協會2017-19年主席 梁思敏女士，香港中文大學社會工作學系教授 家庭及小組實務研究中心主席 馬麗莊教授，香港立法會議員 容海恩女士以及主持人美銀美林集團人事部副總裁 Tonia Wong-Kee 女士。嘉賓們從政府政策，企業政策以至社會和民間部門的參與各方面也提出意見。
家庭友好政策不僅考慮有孩子的家庭，還有老人需要照顧的家庭。 婦女基金會行政總裁 樂鳳蘭女士提出：「女性通常是家庭中的主要看護人，因此我們經常看到許多女性不僅為孩子而且還為家中的老人而離開職場。」該組織最近發布了一份報告｢香港長者護理：2018 至 2060 年香港長者護理的預計社會成本｣報告，以了解長者護理為本港未來帶來的社會成本。到2060年，老年人護理人口將從5％增加到11％，增加一倍以上，社會成本將從388億港元增加6倍至2224億港元，個人成本將從18億港元增加到7.2億港元。可是，照顧長者的責任往往落在女性身上，估計2060年將有62%的照顧者為女性。