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Women face uphill battle for employment in Hong Kong, study shows

[HONG KONG] With or without children, women aren't favored in hiring by Hong Kong employers, new research by the Equal Opportunities Commission and Chinese University of Hong Kong shows.

The commission surveyed 102 employers in the city. When reviewing mock resumes of candidates with equal qualifications, only 37.4 per cent of the employers said they'd recruit a woman "without family status" - meaning those who aren't caring for children or elderly relatives. Fewer than half - 47.2 per cent - said they'd favor hiring women with children. That compares with 70 per cent for men with children - the most popular candidates.

It appears that job candidates who aren't caring for children or elderly relatives are viewed as not being sufficiently committed, according to the research.

In addition, telephone surveys conducted of a larger pool of respondents suggest a similar phenomenon. Among 407 employers interviewed, 43.7 per cent said it's normal not to hire mothers, compared with 29.5 per cent who said the same thing of fathers.

Under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance passed in Hong Kong in 1997, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of family status.

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The research team recommended that more resources should be allocated to promote the awareness of family status discrimination in Hong Kong workplaces. Interestingly, they noted that some working mothers aren't in favor of expanded family-leave policies because they may reinforce the stereotype that mothers aren't focused on their jobs.


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