Message from the CEO

Dear TWF friends

2015 was a very busy and exciting year for TWF. We expanded the breadth and depth of our community and professional programmes, we released several best practice guides, and we ramped up our public engagement around the core themes of positive education and resilience training for Hong Kong youth, tackling gender stereotyping in the media and encouraging women and girls to embrace technology.

We are particularly proud of our undergraduate Big Brothers and Sisters in this year’s T.E.E.N. Programme. Several of them were TEEN participants themselves six years ago and they have now come full circle and are paying it forward by mentoring our current cohort of TEENs.

In addition, we were able to accomplish a long-time goal for TWF with the making of “She Objects”, our new documentary that was completed in early 2016. The film could not have been made without the encouragement and funding support of many people and our partner organisations and it has been hugely validating to see the positive response from international film festivals to local Hong Kong audiences. Drawing on the film which has the endorsement of the Education Bureau, we hope to roll out workshops to promote media literacy and critical thinking on the part of secondary and university students across Hong Kong.

Another exciting new initiative which we launched in 2015 was the pilot of our Girls Go Tech Programme – a free after school initiative that provides secondary school girls from underprivileged backgrounds with coding and digital literacy skills to maximise their future career opportunities. The Programme was selected by Operation Santa Claus at the end of 2015 for OSC funding which will allow us to expand the reach of the Programme into more schools in 2016.

Embracing the spirit of HeforShe, we have also re-doubled our efforts to engage men in championing for gender equality both at home and in the workplace through the launch of the TWF Male Allies, a cohort of influential male leaders from around 30 organisations, who have committed to both influencing institutional changes at their own organisations and personal actions to advance gender equality in Hong Kong.

We still have a long way to go but I am confident we are moving in the right direction, and thanks to our ever-growing list of far-sighted supporting corporations, foundations, government agencies and media organisations, we continue to shoot for ambitious goals and systemic societal change, beyond what we can achieve alone.

Thank you to all of our incredible supporters and donors and the many individuals and institutions with whom we are working to achieve a brighter and more equitable Hong Kong for all.

Su-Mei Thompson
CEO, The Women’s Foundation

Message from our Honorary Patron

Dear friends

I am honoured to be writing this message to you in my capacity as Honorary Patron of The Women’s Foundation.

Around the world, women are breaking through glass ceilings and rising to the fore. We have seen an unprecedented number of female athletes participating in this summer’s Olympics Games and in the past year alone, Taiwan, Myanmar, Nepal, Croatia, Mauritius, and Lithuania have all elected or re-elected female leaders to office.

This is a critical time for Hong Kong as we stand at an inflection point in our political and social history. Preserving our international standards in governance and a decent standard of living for all is important, and our work towards gender equality remains a critical part of this. Hong Kong’s young people are its future leaders and it is vital that they are given all the opportunities and support they need to become responsible, informed and committed global citizens.

Over the last decade, the Foundation stands as a beacon of excellence for bringing a wide range of women’s issues to the fore and setting new standards for regional NGOs in terms of innovative programme design and content, collaboration with public and private sector partners, and rigorous impact assessment.

Despite their efforts and the joint gains for gender equality achieved with other civil society actors, women in Hong Kong continue to face discrimination and much remains to be done in terms of breaking down barriers and changing attitudes. Of particular concern are growing caring responsibilities particularly for the elderly, the need to train our youth in critical thinking and to instill in them resilience and a positive mindset, and the lack of resources and services available to women on the periphery including new arrivals from the Mainland, migrant women, single mothers and ethnic and sexual minorities.

I want to thank all of you, on behalf of The Women’s Foundation, for your continued support for its programmes, research, outreach initiatives and mission. Your support is crucial to the Foundation’s success. It is only through our collective efforts that we can create a brighter, more equitable Hong Kong

The Honourable Anson Chan GBM GCMG CBE JP
Former Chief Secretary for Administration, HKSAR

Message from our Board Chair

Dear TWF friends

Whether you are a donor, a supporter, a programme participant or are being introduced to TWF for the first time, we hope you will find the information in our Annual Report about TWF’s work engaging and meaningful.

We believe it is only through effective collaboration between local NGOs, businesses, government, academics and media that we can achieve gender parity. This multi-sector collaboration has always been and continues to be a strong hallmark for our work at TWF, as demonstrated by all of our signature community programmes.

At the same time, we want to serve the community by producing independent, objective research and best practice, which we have continued to do this year by the publication of two best practice guides on Mentoring and Return-to-Work Programmes, a key learnings manual from our Life Skills Programme on the benefits of incorporating positive psychology elements into school curricula and a research report on Gender Stereotyping in the Media supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission. We have also chartered into new territory through commissioning a documentary, She Objects, that explores how traditional and new forms of media create and exacerbate gender stereotypes with often damaging consequences.

Despite our efforts and the efforts of so many others, much remains to be done to achieve gender equality, to provide our youth with the skills and opportunities to flourish and to advance women in the workplace. We can only bring about gender parity collectively and we hope each of you will be a ‘champion of change’ in your day-to-day routine: at work, at home and in the community.

On behalf of the TWF Board, thank you for all that you do to support TWF’s work. I would also like to express my gratitude for the commitment and passion of the executive team led by Su-Mei Thompson and Rita Ching for their tireless dedication to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong. It has been wonderful to see their hard work recognised by the community.

Congratulations to Su-Mei on being named AmCham’s Non-Profit Leader of the Year 2015 and for winning HKAH/Tatler’s 2015 Women of Hope Award for Power & Influence.

Your opinion and your feedback matter to us – please reach out to any of the TWF Board or staff with your ideas and thoughts at any time.

I hope you will continue to follow our journey.


Susan Hutchison
Board Chair

Who We Are & What We Do

In 2004, a group of like-minded women and men identified the need for a new organisation to serve as a platform for women’s issues in Hong Kong. The Women’s Foundation was thus launched, modelled on the best similar organisations around the world. The core elements of our model can be distilled down to action based on empirical research, rigorous impact assessment and leveraging collaborations with academia, businesses, the Government and other NGOs to drive change. Today, TWF is the leading catalyst in Hong Kong for collaborative efforts to drive women’s and girls’ advancement.  We aspire to conduct ground-breaking research and run impactful and innovative community programmes and we engage in education and advocacy in the pursuit of three main goals:

Community Impact

To date, we’ve touched the lives of 10,000 mainly underprivileged teens and 30+ school communities through gender awareness and leadership programmes for teens and our life skills programmes for adolescent girls and boys. Our community programmes have benefited over 300 marginalised women including single mothers, domestic violence victims, women with disabilities, low income women, new arrival women, ethnic minority women and migrant workers. We’ve also facilitated capacity building at over two dozen local grassroots NGOs and 40 professional women’s networks. We’ve also helped more than 1,000 professional women by placing them in effective mentoring relationships and a highly structured programme focused on professional and personal development for women executives. Nothing makes us more proud and more determined when we witness the transformations that occur when women start to believe they can walk through any door, sit any table, have any job and any life that they want.

Financial Highlights

Community Programmes

Our Community Programmes aim to create positive and measurable change for women’s economic self-reliance and youth empowerment through the implementation of sustainable programmes and initiatives.

Pipeline Initiatives

Our Pipeline Initiatives aim to increase institutional investment in, and the active implementation of, equal opportunities for women in the workplace.

Research, Media & Advocacy

TWF started off as a research institute and research remains the cornerstone of everything we do. It informs our strategic decisions as to where we devote our time, energy and resources, and we hope that by making all our research freely available, it can be a resource for other watchdog groups and women’s NGOs, the Government, academics and the media.

Our Board


    Susan Hutchison

    Chair, Board of Governors

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    Susan is responsible for all HR related matters for KKR Asia Pacific. Prior to joining KKR, she worked at Goldman Sachs, where she was Executive Director in Human Capital Management. Prior to Goldman Sachs, she was a Director of Talent Management (Europe & APAC) at The Corporate Executive Board (U.K.) Limited. She also previously managed the regional recruiting efforts for Yahoo! Europe, one of the world’s most innovative online companies.

    Angelina Kwan

    Angelina Kwan

    Vice Chair, Board of Governors

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    Angelina Kwan is Managing Director and Head of Regulatory Compliance for HKEX. Angelina has over 29 years of experience in business development, restructuring, regulatory/compliance, and investor and stakeholder relations. She has held senior management, committee and/or board positions with HK’s Securities and Futures Commission, and other multinational companies and financial institutes. She is a member of the WoC and Council for Sustainable Development, and serves on a number of other Boards & committees.


    Michelle Paisley

    Honorary Treasurer, Board of Governors

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    Michelle has over 20 years of experience in public equity markets, working as an analyst, fund manager, sales person and business leader with top global firms such as Macquarie Group, Bankers Trust, Citigroup and James Capel. In her current role at MVision, she leads a global entrepreneurial team to provide Private Equity funds with strategic advice and fund raising support. Michelle is a certified company director, and member of the Institute of Company Directors (UK).


    Rachel Cartland

    Member, Board of Governors

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    Rachel Cartland joined the Administrative Grade of the Hong Kong Civil Service in 1972 where she worked until her retirement in early 2006. During her time with Government she served in a variety of senior posts and now undertakes public sector consulting.  Current community service includes the China Oxford Scholarship Fund (Trustee).  She is a regular co-host on Backchat, the flagship news discussion programme on RTHK Radio 3.  Her memoir under the title Paper Tigress  was published by Blacksmith Books in 2013.

    zoe henham

    Zoe Henham

    Member, Board of Governors

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    Zoe is a global human resources leader with more than 20 years of experience in strategic and operational HR. Her career began at Arthur Andersen qualifying as a chartered accountant, then moving into HR at Schroders and Lazard whilst also obtaining her CIPD. Zoe joined CLSA’s HR team in 2004, where she was instrumental in developing CLSA’s strategic human capital initiatives and operations. As CLSA’s Global Head of Human Resources she led a team of 28 based in 7 countries, covering a headcount of c1,900 across 23 cities globally.


    Christina Gaw

    Member, Board of Governors

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    Christina Gaw is responsible for capital markets, product development and corporate marketing division of Gaw Capital and works closely with investors relating to capital raising and investor relations. Prior to joining Gaw Capital, Christina has 16 years of investment banking experience with Goldman Sachs and UBS as a Managing Director. Christina is a Corporate Member of The Cheltenham Ladies’ College Council and non-executive director of the ARA Asia Asset Income Fund. She is also is an Executive Board Member of The HK Ballet Group.


    Desiree Au

    Member, Board of Governors

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    Desiree has spent over 15 years in Hong Kong media. She is currently the publisher of Time Out Hong Kong, part of an international network of city magazines covering 41 cities from London to New York to Dubai, as well as a communications consultant. Concurrent with her position at Time Out Hong Kong, Desiree served as an editorial consultant for a luxury quarterly for Bloomberg BusinessWeek in China, titled Executive Life, for two years.


    Lale Kasebi

    Member, Board of Governors

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    As a member of the leadership team at Li & Fung, Lale is responsible for global corporate communications with all stakeholders of Li & Fung, and leading the development of strategy on key initiatives aligning the organization to the company’s goals. She has a long history with the TWF, most recently as Co-chair of the Mentoring Programme Alumni Network. In addition, she currently Co-chairs the efforts of the newly formed Asian University for Women Hong Kong Support Foundation.


    Tim Payne

    Member, Board of Governors

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    Tim has been with Brunswick for 20 years – based in London, then New York, before moving to Hong Kong in 2004 where he leads the firm’s business in Asia. Tim’s work bridges corporate and financial communications, crisis communications and issues management, with expertise in M&A, IPO and reputation communications. Before joining Brunswick, Tim was a political campaign director for the UK’s Liberal Democrat party, running many of their parliamentary campaigns.


    Clarence Yang

    Member, Board of Governors

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    Clarence is Chief of Staff to BlackRock’s Asia-Pacific Chairman and is responsible for special projects as well as major cross-functional initiatives. Prior to this role, he was a member of the Asia-Pacific Strategy & Corporate Development team and before that he served as BlackRock’s Head of Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment Asia ex-Japan. In 2008 he was recognised as a Rising Star of Corporate Governance by the Millstein Centre for Corporate Governance.  


    Keith Pogson

    Honorary Auditor, Board of Governors

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    Keith leads EY’s Assurance practice for Banking & Capital markets globally, and is a thought leader in the financial services space. Keith has 25 years of extensive investment and commercial banking and financial services experience. Keith was the 2012 AmCham champion for the Advancement of Women and founding member of the 30% Club Hong Kong. Keith was previously the President of the HKICPA, member of the Standing Committee of Company Law Reform (HK) and on the Listing Committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Our Team


    Su-Mei Thompson


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    Rita Ching

    Deputy CEO

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    Deanie Chiu

    Financial Controller

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    Marie Claire Lim Moore

    Development Director

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    Crystal Chan

    Communications Director

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    Jo Hayes

    Pipeline Initiatives Director

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    Ellen Li

    Financial Literacy & Employability Training Programme Manager

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    Yan Lam

    Life Skills Programme Manager

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    Jill Chung

    TEEN Programme Manager

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    Connie Cheung

    Programme & Networks Manager

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    Lisa Moore

    Research & Advocacy Manager

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    Joy Arenas

    Pipeline Initiatives Manager

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    Danielle Yeung

    Assistant Manager of Pipeline Initiatives

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    Tiff Kong

    Graphic Designer

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    Stephanie Ko

    Communications and Partnerships Officer

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    Kit Pang

    Life Skills and TEEN Programme Officer

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    Joyce Cheung

    Girls Go Tech and She Objects Programme Officer

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    Eva Ling

    Accounting Officer

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    Nancy Lo

    Administration Manager

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    Charlie Wong

    TEEN Programme Officer

Treasurer’s Report

The Women’s Foundation is in good financial health. Whilst the rate of growth in both income and expenditure has moderated in the last year or so, we are well positioned to continue our successful programmes, and to grow the reach and impact of our work in Hong Kong’s communities that most need our help.

Sources of Funds

Reported income in 2015 was HK$15.39m, a slight increase on 2014’s income of HK$15.32m. Corporate sourced funding rose by 26% between 2014 and 2015 and continues to be our most important source of funding, accounting for 74% of income in 2015 (up from 59% in 2014). The corporate funding largely filled the gap left by the fall in Government funding. Government funding fell by 93% from HK$840k in 2014 to HK$57k in 2015. In 2015, our Government funding represented two subsidies from Equal Opportunity Commission for (1) sponsoring a research report - Gender Stereotypes in the Hong Kong Media: A Scoping Study [HK$33k] and (2) an event subsidy for community activities for our T.E.E.N. (Talent Empowerment, Equality and Networking) Programme for at risk teens [HK$24k]. We expect that 2016 will see recovery in Government support for TWF’s programmes. However, we are also aware that corporate funding has become harder to secure, and generally on a shorter commitment cycle. We continue to work to diversify our corporate partners, and warmly welcome interest from corporates interested in sponsoring our programmes.

Donations from individuals in 2015 were significantly focused on our documentary, She Objects. The bulk of individual donations are made during our two annual Gala fund-raisers, and other one-off fundraisers. Individual donations were lower (down 38%) in 2015 due primarily to the absence of one-off fundraising concert (a dinner with Dame Kiri) and a series of fundraising activities for WISE scholarship from individuals in 2014.

Restricted funding - that is donations for specific programmes – rose 7.7% to HK$10.31m in 2015, and continues to form the largest part of our funding, accounting for 67% (62%). Individual, personal, donations continues to be the smallest source of funds.

Use of Funds

In 2015, we invested HK$11.89m (HK$10.64m) in our programmes and research, which accounted for 79% of our total expenditure, a healthy improvement from 72% in 2014. A large beneficiary of the funding, was our She Objects documentary and its media literacy programme. By far the most significant component of our expenditure relates to our two youth programmes—the T.E.E.N. Programme and the Life Skills Programme. Combined, all our community programmes accounted for HK$6.81m or 45% of our total expenditure (a 15% increase from $5.93m last year). As you will read elsewhere in this Annual Report, the independent evaluations on the effectiveness of these programmes in improving the lives, perspectives, confidence and opportunities for the participants is wonderfully encouraging.

2015 was another important year for our research efforts, with work underway on several major research projects. Research was our fourth largest expense, (9% of overall expenditure) at HK$1.34m (up 8% yoy).

We continue to work hard to run a lean and efficient organisation. Our rule of thumb is that at least 65% of our annual operating budget goes to programmes and research which are our core focus, and that overhead and administrative expenses should not exceed 15%. I am delighted to report that for 2015, programme and research related costs accounted for 79% of our expenditure. Meanwhile, our administrative expenses went down from 8% in 2014 to 6% in 2015.

TWF holds a conservative cash balance. This provides visibility on funding our programmes and team for the year ahead. This organisation operates with a long-term view, consistent with the longer-term changes we aim to effect.

A very big ‘thank you’ to our corporate and individual donors. We could not do what we do without your incredibly generous support! Thank you for sharing in our vision, and mission. This year, we would like to especially thank our donors who have supported our She Objects documentary and campaign and we are very excited about unveiling the film in 2016.

We hope we can count on your ongoing financial support and collaboration in the coming years.

Michelle Paisley
Honorary Treasurer
May 2016