Gender equality and the limits of law in securing social change in Hong Kong

Amy Barrow, Sealing Cheng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter explores the adoption of anti-discrimination laws and equality policies in Hong Kong and their role in securing social change around gender equality. In the period leading up to the handover of British Colonial Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997, several laws were adopted, including the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap 480) in 1995, which also provided for the creation of an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). This institutional mechanism, together with the Women’s Commission, provides the infrastructure to support the regulation and promotion of laws and policies on gender equality. However, stereotypes remain around gender roles and identities, as well as an institutional inertia to address the complexity of gender inequalities at the intersection of class, ethnicity, immigration status, age, and other identity characteristics, which serve to inhibit the full and equal participation of all members of society. Drawing upon qualitative research interviews conducted with multiple stakeholders, including lawmakers, women’s organizations, scholars, and members of both the Equal Opportunities Commission and Women’s Commission, 1 the chapter considers the advances made toward equality and social change. We situate Hong Kong laws and policies on gender equality and political and social change in their historical context and identify a number of important advances in women’s legal and social status, including anti-discrimination laws and institutional mechanisms to support the advancement of women. Ongoing challenges for securing equality are teased out, including inadequate legal protections, and structural conditions that have proven detrimental to women’s empowerment. Some of the key equality strategies adopted by the Women’s Commission are evaluated in light of the ongoing challenges for gender equality.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen of Asia
Subtitle of host publicationglobalization, development, and gender equity
EditorsMehrangiz Najafizadeh, Linda L. Lindsey
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Chapter6
Pages83-97
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315458441, 9781315458458
ISBN (Print)9781138208773, 9781138208780
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Fingerprint

social change
equality
Hong Kong
Law
gender
equal opportunity
affirmative action
advancement of women
women's organization
legal protection
legal status
political change
gender role
stereotype
qualitative research
empowerment
social status
immigration
discrimination
promotion

Cite this

Barrow, A., & Cheng, S. (2019). Gender equality and the limits of law in securing social change in Hong Kong. In M. Najafizadeh, & L. L. Lindsey (Eds.), Women of Asia: globalization, development, and gender equity (pp. 83-97). New York ; London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Barrow, Amy ; Cheng, Sealing. / Gender equality and the limits of law in securing social change in Hong Kong. Women of Asia: globalization, development, and gender equity. editor / Mehrangiz Najafizadeh ; Linda L. Lindsey. New York ; London : Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2019. pp. 83-97
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Barrow, A & Cheng, S 2019, Gender equality and the limits of law in securing social change in Hong Kong. in M Najafizadeh & LL Lindsey (eds), Women of Asia: globalization, development, and gender equity. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York ; London, pp. 83-97.

Gender equality and the limits of law in securing social change in Hong Kong. / Barrow, Amy; Cheng, Sealing.

Women of Asia: globalization, development, and gender equity. ed. / Mehrangiz Najafizadeh; Linda L. Lindsey. New York ; London : Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2019. p. 83-97.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

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Barrow A, Cheng S. Gender equality and the limits of law in securing social change in Hong Kong. In Najafizadeh M, Lindsey LL, editors, Women of Asia: globalization, development, and gender equity. New York ; London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. 2019. p. 83-97