Message from the CEO
Dear TWF Friends
In keeping with the spirit of our mantra “Research, Collaborate, Change”, some of the highlights of 2016 include the commissioning of a pilot study sponsored by Goldman Sachs on why girls in Hong Kong are not opting for STEM subjects and the launch of two new best practice guides on Return-to-Work Programmes for Women and Gender Inclusive Global Mobility Programmes. In a wonderful example of a multi-sectoral partnership, we are also collaborating with HKU and HSBC on a study examining the impact of eldercare responsibilities on women’s careers in Hong Kong and a best practice guide to encourage employers to do more to support female and male employees who are caring for elderly relatives while trying to hold down their jobs.
Meanwhile, our well-established community programmes – from our TEEN Programme for at risk teens to our Employability Programme for marginalised women to our quickly expanding Girls Go Tech Programme for girls at school in some of Hong Kong’s poorest districts – continue to encourage women and girls to challenge gender stereotypes, broaden their horizons and aspire to greater economic self-reliance.
We also continued our commitment to disrupt gender stereotypes in the media with the launch of our documentary “She Objects” in June. We were humbled by the critical acclaim that the film has attracted from the likes of the Mumbai FLO Film Festival and the Sundance HK Film Festival. Drawing on the film, we are rolling out media literacy and critical thinking workshops in secondary schools and universities.
In keeping with the spirit of the UN’s HeforShe initiatives, TWF has also been doing our best to encourage men to assume greater responsibility for shifting the conversation about gender equality from the margins to the centre through our the launch of the TWF Male Allies, our ongoing involvement in the the 30% Club and other initiatives. We invited Jackson Katz, the eminent US anti-sexism author, film-maker, academic and architect of the Bystander Approach to reducing violence against women, to Hong Kong to deliver a series of talks and workshops which were very well-received. Meanwhile, 2016 saw the 30% Club HK make the bold commitment to bring the number of all male Hang Seng Index company boards to zero by 2018 and to increase the percentage of women directors on HSI company boards to 20% by 2020, working toward a long-term goal of 30%.
While we are encouraged by the progress we have made to enlist male leaders as champions, at the other end of the spectrum, we know from our work in schools through our TEEN and Life Skills Programmes that while girls respond very positively to our empowerment programmes and generally demonstrate sustained change in their confidence and aspirations, boys are less malleable and hold more entrenched gender stereotypical views due to a combination of factors including Asian cultural attitudes, family expectations, peer pressure and the media’s promotion of narrow and conformist definitions of masculinity.
It seems more work needs to be done to help men and boys in Hong Kong feel comfortable having conversations about gender issues and to show them how they can support gender equality. This will continue to be an important theme for TWF in 2017, in addition to our commitment to getting more girls and women in Hong Kong to embrace STEM subjects and careers to improve their prospects for a brighter future.
From all of us at TWF, our heartfelt thanks for all your support in 2016 and we look forward to another exciting year ahead.
CEO, The Women’s Foundation
Message from our Honorary Patron
The past year has been a challenging one with regards to gender equality. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the gender gap is growing. The report estimates that gender equality won’t be achieved until 2186. The same report in 2014 estimated parity by 2095 which shows that progress is sliding backwards. In particular, the report found that progress towards parity in term of economic participation has slowed dramatically – at 59% —which is larger than at any point since 2008. These effects have also been seen in politics, business and media around the world where public displays of misogynistic actions and attitudes have been depressingly evident.
These issues underscores the importance of the work organisations like TWF are doing to improve the lives of women and girls. Hong Kong is in great need of innovative solutions and partnerships to provide our youth with the skills and opportunities they need to be able to thrive. We also need to combat harmful stereotypes preventing girls and boys from making positive choices about their futures. We need to create opportunities for professional women to take on more leadership positions in the public and private sectors, and we need to equip our vulnerable members of the community with the skills and support they need to improve their quality of life.
Closing the gender gap requires action from all of us –at work, at home and in the community. I urge each of you will take up this challenge creatively and willingly to bring about positive change for all of us.
On behalf of The Women’s Foundation, thank you for your continued support for its programmes, initiatives and research. 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
2016 was a busy one for TWF – here is a snapshot of our impact over the last 12 months:
- TWF has touched the lives of over 3,000 local teen girls and boys, parents and teachers through our T.E.E.N. and Life Skills programmes.
- After a successful pilot in 2015, TWF’s Girls Go Tech Programme expanded this year to providing free coding and digital literacy workshops to 360 girls and 600 teachers from 9 schools in Hong Kong’s poorest districts.
- By the close of 2016, TWF’s Financial Literacy & Employability Programme has delivered 800 hours of training to 330 marginalised women to help them achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families.
- TWF’s best in class Mentoring Programme placed 100 professional women in fulfilling mentoring relationships with a strong network of alumni from the previous seven cohorts.
- We published two best practice guides on gender inclusive mobility programmes and return to work initiatives adding to our existing repository of best practice guides on effective mentoring programmes and women’s networks.
- We continued our efforts to engage men through the 30% Club HK and TWF Male Allies initiative.
- We launched ‘She Objects’, a documentary that spotlights gender stereotyping in the media, and have facilitated more than 40 public and private screenings with many more planned for 2017.
That we were able to achieve all of this is thanks to the dedication, energy, time and resources of our incredible community of volunteers and corporations, and the collaboration we have enjoyed with many partner organisations. We look forward to building stronger partnerships and continuing to engage with all of you in 2017.
On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank TWF’s CEO, Su-Mei Thompson and Deputy CEO, Rita Ching, for their unstinting and tireless efforts to create an organisation that has become a thought leader in promoting gender equality in Hong Kong and beyond.