International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day dedicated to honouring the achievements of women from all different backgrounds and cultures throughout history and all around the world. This special day also marks a call for accelerating gender parity historically.
How and when did International Women’s Day start?
International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1909. The first celebration was for the cause of 15,000 women protesting long work hours, low pay, and the lack of voting rights in New York City. On March 8, 1917, tens of thousands of Russian women took to the streets demanding change for better living conditions. The success of that women-led protest in Russia has since set a revolutionary trend of movement which centred around unity and strength of women on the 8th of March. Dating back to 1975, the United Nations (UN) started to officially celebrate the day. The theme for this year is #EachforEqual. It is a day to raise the awareness to create a gender-equal world together and to celebrate how far women have come in society, in politics, and in economics.
How is gender equality in Hong Kong?
Perhaps, we can see how gender equality has been achieved in Hong Kong in these few years. In 2019, The Women’s Foundation conducted research on workplace gender equality in Hong Kong. Although women comprising the majority of university graduates, only 55% of women are in the workforce in Hong Kong and only 3 / 10 of which are in management level. Being a mother in Hong Kong is not easy at all. Though women can be ambitious in the workplace, working mother is increasingly caught in work-family conflict. Not to mention, caring responsibility is still a barrier to them. 30% of women drop out of the workplace due to caring responsibility and more than 50% of employers said they would not consider hiring women with children.
Speaking of gender inequality in the workplace, foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) represents 9.3% of overall workforces in Hong Kong in 2016. FDHs take up our household work so that we can be less stressed about having so much on our plate and can strike a better balance in life. Most foreign domestic helpers we hire are women. If we put ourselves into their shoes, we can understand how uneasy it is for the helpers to leave their beloved husbands, kids, relatives, and friends behind for months or even years. Having a mutually respectful working environment is important to establish a healthy relationship between employers and helpers. If you are interested, check out some inspiring stories about the FDHs and how employer get to build a meaningful relationship with their helpers.
How to celebrate International Women’s Day?
If you reside in Hong Kong, there are 3 events which you can participate to celebrate this special occasion:
1. Wellness workshop at the Fivelements Habitat
Advocating wellness and healthy lifestyle, the Fivelement Habitat team collaborate with some of the top female founders and entrepreneurs in the city to share wellness practices, conscious business, testimonials of life transformation, feminine empowerment, and earth advocacy. Part of the proceeds benefits HER Fund, whose mission strives to mobilize resources for women’s empowerment and promotion of social changes.
Head over here for more details!
2. Network and Eat in Uma Nota
To celebrate the joy of women empowerment, Uma Nota invited 6 inspiring female speakers in the town to share their experience and journey as women. Meanwhile, the guests can enjoy the drinks and canapes. Part of the proceeds will be donated to FeedingHK, an NGO dedicated to rescue surplus food and redistribute it to the people in need in Hong Kong.
Check out here for more info!
3. Meet the female African entrepreneurs
Women empowerment has no limitation in races and ethnicity. The African community might be a minority in Hong Kong but they are here to contribute and aspire people around. African Center Hong Kong aims to build a valuable bridge between the African and non-African communities in Hong Kong through a series of programmes and activities. In tomorrow event, you can meet female African entrepreneurs from different career backgrounds sharing their stories and struggles.
Head over here for more details!
International Women’s Day is a day for us to celebrate how far women have come to establish an independent voice. Though the social status of women in most developed societies has lifted, advocacy for what is still needed to shorten the gap of gender inequality is still in the air. In order to achieve that, We should all respect and empower people around us, no matter genders, shades and races, every single day.