Speech by CE at Women's Commission International Women's Day 2018 reception

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Women's Commission International Women's Day 2018 reception today (March 8):

     As Hong Kong's first ever female Chief Executive, it is a great pleasure for me to join you all for this year's International Women's Day reception.

     Hong Kong has indeed made great strides in promoting women's development, and I am a firm believer that education plays a big role in this area. We are proud that Hong Kong has achieved gender equality in education. Despite having slightly more males than females in the 15-to-24 age group, females outnumber their male counterparts in higher education.

In the last academic year, about 54 per cent of students who enrolled in programmes funded by the University Grants Committee were female. In terms of professional degree programmes such as medicine, which have been dominated by male students in the past, these days females have an edge in terms of enrolment numbers. For instance, in the last academic year, women accounted for about 51 per cent of medical students in Hong Kong.

     That said, statistics reveal that there is room for improvement, especially when it comes to supporting women at work. In 2016, 51 per cent of women participated in our labour force, which is significantly lower than the 69 per cent of men.

Also in 2016, just one in three manager and administrator positions were filled by women. It is also noteworthy that the number of women in the workforce drops after the age of 30. This is understandable as this suggests that some women, including professionals, might not return to the job market after starting a family. My Government is committed to removing barriers for women to enter or remain in employment through various support measures.

These include enhancing child care and elderly services, so as to create favourable conditions for women who wish to pursue their careers, and enable them to achieve a better work-life balance.

     I know that the Women's Commission has put a lot of effort into facilitating women's employment. In addition to commissioning surveys and researches on women's development and employment, it has since 2014-15 provided funding to help various groups organise programmes and projects under the Funding Scheme for Women's Development. To date, 206 projects have been approved for funding.

I look forward to the Commission's valuable advice on how we can further support women in the workplace and address other issues of concern for women in the community. We will continue to work closely with the Commission to promote the well-being of all women in Hong Kong.

     On this International Women's Day, let me wish you all an enjoyable evening and a very happy and healthy year ahead. Thank you very much.

Published on: 2018-03-08

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