Javidan & House (2001: 300) studied the GLOBE project in which the attitudes of people towards work were studied among 62 countries by involving 150 researchers. The researchers found that among the reported scores on the attitudes of people towards work, Hong Kong is among the highest score achievers.
This shows that a ‘can-do’ attitude is present among the majority of Hong Kong’s working people. These people love to initiate a job. Hong Kong women are progressing in their careers because they receive good opportunities to get education along with their ‘can-do’ attitude.The situation of women in Hong Kong had changed to a significant extent in the 1990s (Fosh et al.
1999; Ng & Ng 2002). The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was extended to Hong Kong by the Legislative Council in December 1992. Then another act in favor of Hong Kong women took place in 1995 with the enactment of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO). Then in 1996, the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Commission had taken place. The most important issue that majority of Hong Kong employed women had faced was the discrimination at their workplace due to the family status.That discrimination against women was tried to eliminate by passing the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance in 1997.
Such movements did not stop with the beginning of the new millennium. The establishment of the Women’s Commission had taken place in January 2001. The purpose of this commission was to take care of women’s well-being and to promote their interests. The Women’s Commission was assigned to work on a long-term vision through which strategies should be implemented to develop and bring advancement to Hong Kong women (Hong Kong Government, 2004: 5).
Despite the legal and political developments to bring advancement in the status of Hong Kong women, the opinions of community about the effectiveness of these developments are divided. The business sector does not seem happy with laws promoting career advancements of Hong Kong women. People in business sector do not trust anti sex discrimination laws (Petersen 1997) and employees in the business sector hesitate to admit the effectiveness of legislations in which women are given equal opportunities (Ng et al. 1998).The Equal Opportunities Commission had commissioned a survey whose purpose was to people’s perceptions of gender.
According to that survey, 21. 6% of the people responded that housework is the major responsibility of daughters and sons should not be given the responsibility to take care of the housework (EOC 1997). The Hong Kong Government had conducted the first study between December 2001 and February 2002. The purpose of this thematic study was to find out how Hong Kong residents use their time and what they think about paid and unpaid jobs.It was found from the thematic study that only 7.
6% males, who were very active in earning money, considered themselves responsible to do 60% or more of their housework. Whereas 25. 2% males, who were also very active in earning money, considered them responsible to do 60% or more of their housework (Hong Kong Government 2003a: 105). The women who were economically active were found to spend average 1. 7 hours per day where as the men who were also economically active were found to spend average only 0. 7 hours per day (Hong Kong Government, 2003a: 47).
Law (2003) studied the results of a survey commissioned in December 2003 in which 405 Hong Kong women, whose ages were between 18 and 65, were asked about the role of males in their society. It was found that 55% of the women believed that the head of the family must be husband and 66% of the women believed that it is the primary responsibility of a woman to take care of her family. The Women Commission has also reinforced the primary role of Hong Kong women as home workers. An educational program was launched for Hong Kong women in February 2004 named ‘Capacity Building Mileage’. The program did not address any employment issue.
Rather, the purpose of this program was to education Hong Kong women about how they should keep their child healthy, how to manage the financial issues at home, the right ways of communication with men, and how to behave oneself as a graceful lady in public functions. Employed persons both men and women were asked whether they would leave their job if their home needs them more than ever. It was found that 76. 1% of women gave positive response where as 63. 8% mean gave positive response (Hong Kong Government, 2003a: 124). This clearly shows that home making is more important to women as to men.
Men consider home making as a lady’s job.The women who replied positively to quit job if their home needs them more than ever, gave the following reasons: they have to look after older members of their household, they have to look after their newly born baby and, they would leave job to look after their children and spouse (Hong Kong Government, 2003a: 124). Thus it becomes clear that the role of a caretaker is gendered in Hong Kong and women are considered as the primary caretaker. As stereotyping is prominent in the role of a caretaker as females are considered as the primary care taker, then employed women actually perform two shifts job (Hochschild, 1989).They work in the first shift at their workplace and then get busy in the second shift at their homes. This results in a heavy work-family stress on employed women especially managers in Hong Kong.
Lo et al. (2003) reported that supervision of homework of their children has become the primary cause of the high magnitude of work-family stress. Hong Kong residents strongly believe in achieving higher education and thus work very hard with their children to help them achieve high academic achievements.
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