Gender Equality Awareness
Posted by Peter MUIR
A group of Year 10 students recently held an event at DC to raise awareness about the issue of unequal wages and gender inequality in the workplace. Here is there report on that event:
The issue of unequal wages and unfair treatment in the workplace is something that has a very real effect on women around the world. There are countries where women cannot even have a job without permission from their husband, even more progressive countries have restricting laws, policies and ideals. In America, for each dollar that a man makes, a woman doing the same job will make anywhere from 50 to 80 cents. Due to preconceptions and prejudices women make up less that 20% of the world’s CEO’s. The root cause of this situation is a lack of access to education by young girls across the world, women making up two thirds of the world’s illiterate population.
While Hong Kong is very progressive, having a very high men to women ratio in the government, jobs that are less high profile can have the same inequalities as the rest of the world. One group that campaigns against this is The Women’s Foundation Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation who provide many programmes for women who wish to join fields such as S.T.E.M or who wish to learn financial literacy or life planning skills. They also hold these classes for women who live in poverty, trying to break the poverty cycle. They provide scholarships and work towards empowering female leaders in the workplace. They also conduct research into things like gender stereotypes in Hong Kong’s media, women’s entrepreneurship and women in male dominated workplaces in Hong Kong. The organisation holds regular events, ranging from talks from leading women in their fields and camps for younger girls.
To help this charity and its cause, we have done a number of things around the school. The main action that we took was setting up an ‘unfair’ bake sale, where male students had to pay $2 more for each product than the female students. This is to simulate the average wage gap. By doing this we were able to provoke discussion among both male and female students. Many boys complained about how it was ‘unfair’ and ‘sexist towards boys’, but we explained to them that this was the reality for most women around the world, every single day. It was not just boys that found it confusing, quite a few girls did not understand either. Most students we told found the concept of a wage gap shocking and unfair. We hope that they were inspired to do further research of their own and that they decide to take their own steps to take action against this issue.
Another step that our group took was to compile a list of books with a strong feminist message, biographies about women who have made significant contributions to our society or novels with strong female main character and message. We requested for these books to be stocked in the DC Library and hopefully they will be ordered soon.