HKU SPACE Pushes Gender Equality Forward by Hosting a Worldwide Conversation on Gender Inequality for the first time The Secretary for Justice, The Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission and Professors at HKU are Invited as Speakers - HKU SPACE
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HKU SPACE Pushes Gender Equality Forward by Hosting a Worldwide Conversation on Gender Inequality for the first time The Secretary for Justice, The Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission and Professors at HKU are Invited as Speakers

Date
23 Nov 2018 (Fri)
Press Release

The HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education and the University of London have partnered for over 50 years. Receiving an invitation from the University of London, HKU SPACE has held “A worldwide conversation on women’s higher education and equality in the workplace”. It is because this year coincides with the 150th Anniversary of the University of London to introduce special examinations for women in the UK in 1868. Various public figures were invited as our distinguished speakers. Topics like the gender equality of Hong Kong women in the higher education and workplace were discussed together with an aim to arouse the concern of different sectors in society on this matter.

The School was delighted to have the presence of Ms Teresa Cheng (GBS, SC, JP), Secretary for Justice as the officiating guest. Also, Professor Chan Cheung Ming, Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission and Professor Amy Tsui, Professor Emerita, HKU were the keynote speakers. Meanwhile, Professor Cecilia L.W. Chan, Si Yuan Chair Professor in Health and Social Work, HKU, Ms Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women’s Foundation and Ms Wendy Gan Kim See, HKU SPACE Board of Directors participated in this conversation as well. They all opined on the different situations of how women are treated in the workplace and made suggestions of how universities can promote gender equality effectively.

Professor William K.M. Lee, Director of HKU SPACE said, “HKU SPACE is very honoured to hold the conversation for the first time in Hong Kong. This is in line with the aim of our school, which is to support gender equality and advocate equality. I am so delighted that we can invite the government secretary, equality organisations, women’s organisations and academics to participate. Through this enthusiastic discussion, we hope to arouse the public concern on gender equality issues. We also hope to intensify the knowledge and understanding of the public towards the position of local women in the workplace and higher education. All in all, we can strive to build an environment with gender equality.”

“In Hong Kong, the protection of women’s right is enshrined in the Basic Law which stipulates that all Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law. The Hong Kong Bill of Rights also guarantees that all women and men equally enjoy all civil and political rights. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women applies to Hong Kong and it safeguards women’s rights and ensures the full development of women,” Our officiating guest Ms Teresa Cheng, Secretary for Justice said.

“Over the past decades, there has been a steady increase in the number of female university graduates and the female labour participation rate in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, pay gaps and an entrenched glass ceiling across industries continue to drag women down the social ladder. The slow adoption of family-friendly practices among employers further forces women to make the unnecessary choice between family and career. The solution to gender inequality in the workplace lies largely on the Government’s part – to incentivising businesses to implement a wider range of family-friendly policies, as well as reforming sex education to shatter gender stereotypes among children from an early age. Companies and enterprises must also learn to appreciate the benefits of investing in family-friendly policies. Only through the concerted effort of different sectors can we remove the barriers to gender parity, and create a stronger workforce, economy and future for our society,” Professor Chan Cheung Ming, Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission addressed.

“Universities should play a leadership role in gender equality. This begins with university leaders formulating and implementing effective policies that will truly bring about gender equality among staff and students,” Professor Amy Tsui, Professor Emerita, HKU said.

The University of London first opened up its “Special Examinations for Women” in 1868. Ten years later, it opened up full degrees to women with the identical requirements as men’s and became the first ever university in the UK to implement gender equality in the area of education. London was a pioneer for women to receive higher education in the UK. This year is the 150th Anniversary of such pioneering and the university has already held the first “A worldwide conversation on women’s higher education and equality in the workplace” at London. Now, it is inviting its higher education institution partners worldwide to hold the event in the same name.