Submission by Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor in respect of the

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's

Initial Report on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of

Discrimination Against Women

Part I: Comments on the Core Document

  1. Preface

General Political Structure

1. Provisional Legislative Council
2. Legislative Council
3. District Boards and Municipal Councils

General Legal Framework within which Human Rights are Protected

Rule of Law

  1. Rolling Back of Civil Rights Laws
  2. "Political Demonstration at Risk"
  3. Flag Burning Laws Repressive
  4. ILO Finds roll-back of labour laws contrary to International Labour Conventions
  5. Bill of Rights Watered Down
  6. Immunity of Mainland Bodies and People close to the Chinese Authorities from Hong Kong Laws
  7. Article 23 Threat
  8. Judges Contribute to Rights Regression
  9. Erosion of Hong Kong's Jurisdiction and Lack of Protection of Hong Kong People on the Mainland
  10. Legal Aid and the Duty Lawyer Scheme
  11. Disciplined Services
  12. The Ombudsman
  13. Lack of a Human Rights Commission

PART II: An Overview of Women's Substantive Rights in Hong Kong

A. Introduction

1. An Overview
2. The HKSAR Government's Submission to CEDAW

B. Politics and Female Participation

1. Participation
2. Legislative Council Elections
3. Village Representation in the New Territories

C. Education

1. Inequality in the Hong Kong Educational System
2. Sex Education - The Lack of it
3. Sexual Harassment on Campus and At Work

D. Elderly Women

1. Shortage of Welfare
2. Elderly Abuse

E. Employment

1. Female-friendly Work Environment
2. Public Policies and Working Women

F. Health of Women

1. Priorities and Women's Health
2. Youth Pregnancies

G. Women's Issue Related to the Laws and their Enforcement

    1. The Girl Child
    a. Child Abuse
    2. Divorce, Maintenance and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance
    3. Women in Prisons
    a. The Prison System
    b. The Justices of the Peace System
    4. Women and Violence
    a. Rape
    b. Wife Battery
H. Conclusion

Appendix I Sex Profile in Functional Constituencies

Appendix II A case: Complaints Against Police Officers -- CAPO

PART I : Comments on the Core Document


Since the handover, there has been a regression in human rights protection in Hong Kong. Constitutional and legal framework important to the protection of women's rights and other human rights have been eroded. The regression in human rights protection mostly took the form of the rolling back of civil rights laws and the introduction of new laws restricting rights. Such changes may not be immediately obvious, and closer scrutiny is necessary.


1. Provisional Legislative Council

All three tiers of elected councils, including the Legislative Council, Municipal Councils (Urban Council & Regional Council), and the 18 District Boards have all been abolished by the Chinese and the HKSAR authorities on 1 July 1997. Despite guarantees in the Basic Law Article 68 that "The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be constituted by election", the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) was set up by the Chinese authorities. The PLC was a body which consisted of 60 members selected by a group of 400 handpicked by China. The worst fact is the government's justification of the legality of the PLC is based on the premise that the Hong Kong court has no power to scrutinize the decisions by the NPC where the sovereignty lies but only the power to examine whether the NPC has really made such a decision. The government's view, which has been accepted by our Court of Appeal, in fact implies that all the institutions and rights provisions in the Basic Law are only binding on the Hong Kong people and the SAR government but not entrenched against the Central authorities, and that there is no legal remedy if the NPC decides to act in breach of the Basic Law. That is, the HKSAR Government's propaganda that the Basic Law gives effective protection to human rights is at best dubious. The PLC was disbanded by the end of June 1998.

2. Legislative Council

There were regress in the already very limited democracy in Hong Kong. The government's submission sets out in its paragraphs 10 and 11 the way the Legislative Council is constituted and the schedule for the future elections. What it does not highlight however is that the 1998 Legislative Council election itself, although was efficiently and fairly administered, was an extremely unfair election. The design of the electoral system is to ensure that popular will be out-proportioned by that of the businesses and professionals. The reduction in the size of the electorate of the functional constituencies, the re-introduction of corporate voting and the requirement to select exactly 10 candidates in the Election Committee election are all means to manipulate the so-called "election" after the Handover. These efforts to undermine Hong Kong's limited democracy are highlighted in Section B of our report.

3. District Boards and Municipal Councils

The Government is attacking the limited democracy in Hong Kong by scrapping the elected municipal councils and by re-introducing appointed members to the District Boards (to be renamed to District Councils in the year 2000). In spite of the fact that the appointment system in the District Board has been abolished by the colonial government in 1994, the Government is now trying to rush through a District Council Bill to provide for a statutory basis for the appointment before mid February 1999.

Although all the incumbents of the District Boards have been re-appointed to the Provisional District Boards set up to replace the District Boards, indicating a limited respect for the will of the voters who had elected them. The people's will and their District Board representative's influence have also been diluted by the Government's appointment of 96 new members to the Provisional District Boards. Those newly appointed members are largely from the pro-Beijing lobby, including members of the Progressive Alliance or the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), etc, but none are from the democratic lobby. Some of those appointees had been defeated in District Board elections. The first elections of District Councils after the handover will take place in the latter half of 1999 and the term of these members will commence on 1 January 2000. However one of the new members will be appointed. The restoration of the appointment system is probably designed to prevent the pro-democracy politicians from getting a majority, thereby "strengthening" the support for government at the District Councils level. It also makes it possible for the Executive to exercise better control on political sensitive issues. Moreover, since District Board members have also a role in the selection of the Chief Executive, it will also give the Chief Executive influences his own re-selection. Distorting the representation of the elected members by the appointment system is a way to defeat the will expressed by the electorate in the elections. This is a breach to people's right to participate in public life through their elected representatives, a right guaranteed under Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The re-introduction of the appointment system represents a step of regression instead of progress as promised by the Chief Executive and the Central Government.

Mr. Tung Chee Hwa's Government has repeatedly attacked the limited democracy at various levels making Tung apparently an enemy of democracy.


Rule of Law

1. Rolling Back of Civil Rights Laws

The regression in human rights protection mostly took the form of the rolling back of civil rights laws, or the introduction of new laws restricting rights. Both the Public Order Ordinance and the Societies Ordinance have been partially repealed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to the detriment of the basic rights. The requirement of registration of societies - which had been discarded by the colonial government long before the handover - was reintroduced by the HKSAR government I the new Societies Ordinance and an application for registration of a society may now be refused by the police on the new grounds of "national security". Similarly, the new Public Order Ordinance was amended by the incoming administration to include "national security" as a ground to prohibit public gatherings.

2. "Political Demonstrations at Risk"

Although no demonstrations have been banned since the handover (although they were close to banning one in January 1999), certain political demonstrations which targeted Chinese leaders in town, have faced vigorous and even oppressive policing. The demonstrators have often been tremendously outnumbered by police officers surrounding them, and often were required to stay in designated demonstration areas out of sight and hearing of their protest targets. They often felt that the purpose of their political demonstration was denied by such policing. Such police tactics frequently resulted in clashes between rights conscious demonstrators and the police.

The police have apparently taken the view that when the "dignity" of an internationally protected person is at stake when they are confronted by demonstrators and their role is to ensure that the person will not be offended by seeing or hearing demonstrators. The police considered it lawful to shield a political leader from the kind of demonstrations which all politicians should face in free and democratic societies. Although questioned by the public and the Independent Police Complaints Council, the police still considers their tactics of drowning a demonstration on the midnight of the handover by Beethoven 5th as lawful. The Department of Justice seems to have been voluntarily or involuntarily used by the police to justify police practices by distorting the law. Human Rights Monitor is glad that the police have accepted the IPCC's recommendations including that for dealing with demonstrations, the police "would not adopt tactics which have the effect or which may reasonably give rise to the perception that the rights of freedom of expression and of assembly and demonstration are being unnecessarily curtailed." Yet a demonstration held on 5th December 1998, by several persons dressed in masks outside Marks and Spencer in Central protesting against air pollution were surrounded and harassed by a large number of police officers. Such policing hardly measures up to the pledges. Perhaps until the members of the police force have been educated to change their association of demonstrations with trouble-makers will make these pledges more effective.

3. Flag-Burning Laws Repressive

Two activists were convicted of defacing the SAR and Chinese flags in a landmark case. The two new ordinances on National and Regional Flags introduced by the HKSAR Government are inconsistent with international human rights jurisprudence. They are themselves a legislative encroachment on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Basic Law. Peaceful expression of opinion through any media of one's choice is a lawful basic right. Similar laws in the United States attempting to prohibit flag burning or desecration have inevitably been declared as violating the freedom of expression and therefore unconstitutional.

4. ILO finds roll-back of labour laws contrary to International Labour Conventions

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has delivered their judgment on the Government's amendment of the laws to reintroduce restrictions on the trade unions' autonomy on the use of funds, hiring of union officials, joining international organizations, and on the Government's repeal of the law which provided for a statutory mechanism for collective bargaining. The ILO concluded that such government actions were contrary to International Labour Conventions.

This judgment implies that such measures are also inconsistent with the Basic Law which provides that no restriction of rights in a way which is inconsistent with international human rights covenants and International Labour Conventions. The Government, however, has refused to acknowledge that it has breached the Conventions in spite of the ILO's judgment. It casts doubt as to whether the Government is sincere in implementing international human rights treaties.

5. Bill of Rights Watered Down

In June 1997, Legislative Councillor Lau Chin Shek introduced a private member's bill which clarified the interpretation of the Bill of Rights Ordinance so that the repeal of pre-existing laws inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Ordinance applied to all offending legislation including those governing "relations between private persons." Although the legitimate Legislative Council passed the bill, the Provisional Legislative Council put a freeze on the amending Ordinance in July 1997. This freeze lasted till January 1998. On 24 February 1998, the Provisional Legislative Council voted in favour of a government bill which repealed Lau Chin-Shek's amendments.

6. Immunity of Mainland bodies and people close to the Chinese authorities from Hong Kong laws

The government's submission stated that everyone was equal before the law. However there seems to be an immunity of Mainland bodies and people close to the Chinese authorities from Hong Kong laws. In a controversial decision, the Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung decided not to prosecute Sing Tao Holdings Chairman Sally Aw Sian over an alleged fraud. Apart from being the chairman of the holding company, Sally Aw is also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a family friend of Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa. There is a strong suspicion about whether justice applies to some and not others. Unless a strong justification is available, the decisions would be a serious affront to the rule of law.

The decision by the Department of Justice not to prosecute Xinhua News Agency for its failure before the Handover to respond within the 40 days limit in breach of the Privacy Ordinance sparked off another controversy. The Chief Executive said that the offence was merely "technical". The decision has called into question whether Xinhua is above the law in the Government's actual administration of justice.

7. Article 23 Threat

Article 23 of the Basic Law which requires Hong Kong to enact laws to prohibit treason, sedition, subversion, secession and theft of state secrets continues to pose serious threats to the freedoms of expression, assembly, association, conscience and political belief. Subversion, for instance, is totally foreign to common law jurisdictions and in China, may include acts such as enrolling in a correspondence course on history with a foreign university (as in Wang Dan's case). The fact that Hong Kong has returned to its motherland should not be a reason to restrict rights.

8. Judges Contribute to Rights Regression

The judiciary is held as the bulwark of the rule of law and human rights. However it has delivered several disappointing judgments since the handover. In one of these cases, the court held that it had no jurisdiction to question decisions made by the National People's Congress, leaving the rights, institutions and autonomy guaranteed in the Basic Law vulnerable to erosion.

9. Erosion of Hong Kong's jurisdiction and lack of protection of Hong Kong People on the Mainland

The Adaptation of Laws Ordinance 1997 has the effect of exempting Mainland bodies from laws of Hong Kong in breach of Article 22 of the Basic Law which requires that all branches of Mainland bodies should abide by the laws of Hong Kong. The enactment of the Ordinance by the SAR Government is a threat to the rule of law in Hong Kong. Another suspicious decision by the Government was that it has deferred on a decision on whether the Privacy Ordinance should bind the Central Authorities by stating that it needed more time to study the Ordinance.

The Government has also failed to protect Hong Kong residents from being tried in unfair trials on the Mainland in the Big Spender's case. The erosion of Hong Kong's jurisdiction on Hong Kong criminal cases and the Government's failure to check the Chinese authorities from applying national laws to Hong Kong in breach of the Basic Law has been a serious issue. Article 18 of the Basic Law prevents the application of national criminal laws to Hong Kong and Article 19 ensures that Hong Kong courts have jurisdiction over all Hong Kong cases. Article 22 requires all Chinese authorities not to interfere in the affairs over which Hong Kong has jurisdiction.

In the Big Spender's and the Tedford Garden cases, instead of defending our own jurisdiction, the Hong Kong Government has been overzealous in justifying the Mainland's encroachment of our jurisdiction even at the expense of twisting the interpretation of the law. The Government's view that Mainland courts may apply national criminal laws to try acts done in Hong Kong by Chinese citizens will open the way for the Chinese authorities to penalize Hong Kong people(most of whom are Chinese citizens) for acts done in Hong Kong, for acts done in Hong Kong including those which can lawfully be done in Hong Kong. The Government's view is contrary to Article 22 of the Basic Law.

10. Legal Aid and the Duty Lawyer Scheme

The rule of law requires equality before the courts which in turn requires that financially disadvantaged persons be provided legal representation to enable them to enforce their legal and human rights. There are two main government funded bodies providing legal aid services in Hong Kong. The Duty Lawyer Scheme's (DLS) primary role is to provide legal representation to defendant's in the Magistrate's court. Although operated by the legal profession, there are two ways in which the Executive's control over Duty Lawyer Scheme's funding seriously compromises its independence. First, the Executive's tight funding controls result in DLS lawyers being assigned a large case load resulting in them having little time to prepare for cases. Second, the Executive generally only funds DLS representation of defendants accused of crimes on a schedule of offences approved by the Executive. This excludes many immigration offences.

The Legal Aid Department (LAD) funds representation of low-middle income persons in the higher courts. As a Government Department the LAD is subject to a variety of institutional controls by the Executive over its policies and operation. Moreover, the LAD has been subject to informal Executive control over its policies and decisions, particularly in cases where Government decisions or actions are being challenged. Examples of the LAD's lack of independence from the Executive includes an agreement between the LAD and the Secretary for Justice that no legal aid will be provided to Vietnamese asylum seekers before a case has been referred to the latter.

Human Rights Monitor expresses its deep concern over the lack of independence from the Executive of both the DLS and the LAD.

11. Disciplined Services

The absence of an independent mechanism to handle complaints against police officers continues to be a problem. The absence of independence can be highlighted by the embarrassing situation where the Senior Assistant Commissioner Dick Lee was heading the branch of police which was responsible for handling a complaint against him and had to have special arrangement for not involving him overseeing the investigation.

Some prisoners of Ma Po Ping Prison alleged that they were brutally beaten up by prison staff. On 6th August two Justices of the Peace paid a surprise visit to Ma Po Ping prison and interviewed 100 prisoners including onlookers who may serve as independent witnesses. This is the first known surprise visit by solely unofficial Justices of the Peace without the involvement of any official JPs. An independent inquiry had been called for to investigate the allegations.

Contrary to common sense and natural justice the Government described their internal inquiry as independent. It has provided conflicting conclusions as to whether excessive force used has been used. While maintaining that the use of force has been necessary, the Correctional Services Department's report also said they have to consider disciplinary actions against a member of prison staff called into question. The JP system should be reformed (see Section G) and an independent inspectorate should be established to ensure proper external monitoring of the penal system.

12. The Ombudsman

The Ombudsman Mr. Andrew So's term of office will not be continued. However there are no clear reasons as to why his contract will not be continued. There were reports of possible reasons that he advocated for human rights causes, that the Government disliked his decision to investigate the airport chaos and his extension of his office's scope to scrutinizing government policy which causes unfair administration. Our worry is that the Government's direct involvement in the appointment and renewal of tenure of the Ombudsman will compromise the independence of the office especially in the light of the fact that the Ombudsman is responsible for scrutinizing government administration.

The non-renewal of his contract also put pressure on his successor Ms. Alice Tai, to "behave". Her connections within the Government may be factors affecting her independence. The culture within the civil service she has been exposed to for twenty years may make her less critical and more complacent to bureaucratic practices in the government. It is hoped that she would resist possible compromises of all kinds and make full use of her office to promote good administration and take pride in developing the emphasis of human rights in the Ombudsman's Office's culture.

13. Lack of Human Rights Commission

In breach of the its promise in early 90's to set up a statutory Human Rights Commission, the Government has subsequently refused to set up one. There were strong call from the Hong Kong people and legislature to set up one. The UN Human Rights Committee has also recommended the government to reconsider the establishment of a Human Rights Commission. The Government however has conducted no consultation but just concluded in its most recent report under the ICCPR that the Government's "previous assessment was correct".

An Overview of Women's Substantive Rights in Hong Kong


1. An Overview

Hong Kong women in general are better educated and have more employment opportunities, however they are still struggling to be recognized. On a psychological level, men's roles that they have had for centuries are slipping away. They used to be the breadwinners, however, now a large number of women have paid jobs. Girls are overtaking boys in virtually every measure of school academic performance. They are no longer always heads of households, and as the economic power of women grow, many men are feeling less secure. However in spite of all these improvements, inequalities remain as prevalent as ever, and this report seeks to outline the problems faced by women in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

2. The HKSAR Government's Submission to CEDAW

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government recently released its Initial Report on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under Article 18 on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. However the report only concentrated on the laws and mechanisms which exist to assist women. Problems that women faced in Hong Kong was not mentioned at all. There was also an obvious lack of detail relating to the topics covered in the report.

The Government cited that the Sex Discrimination Ordinance prevents unlawful discrimination, and set out that the Equal Opportunities Commission is tasked with the responsibility of eliminating sex discrimination in paragraphs 11-12 of its submission. However, nothing is said about how effective this body is in dealing with gender discrimination. It also does not cover a wide range of discrimination, since it was only given the responsibility to implement the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance. In fact a coalition of women's groups complained recently that the Commission is failing to do its job well during the past two years. It accused the Commission of setting up hurdles and discouraging victims from lodging complaints and seeking justice. Investigators from the commission were said to always encourage victims to list their terms of conciliation.

The Government's Report has glorified of what it has done. It merely set out in a factual manner what sort of mechanisms there are for the women, but not the problems still faced by women or any inadequacies. This report will attempt to fill in some of the gaps that have been left out by the Government's Report. The report divides issues into topics and examines them in relation to problems faced by women.

B. Politics and Female Participation

1. Participation

Even in democracies where one-person-one-vote is adhered to, women are worse off due to various socio-economic constraints. Hong Kong is by no means a fully democratic society at present. The current system for choosing representatives within government is particularly disadvantageous to women. The system within Hong Kong itself gives undue influence to prominent leaders of male-dominated professions and the business community. This could be illustrated from both the electoral system itself and the village representative elections.

2. Legislative Council Elections

The current Legislative Council "elected" in 1998 consists of 60 members, of whom 20 are directly elected from 5 geographical constituencies (GCs), 30 are elected from so-called functional constituencies (FCs) representing particular interest groups, and 10 are "elected" by an 800 member Election Committee(EC) which is "elected" by interest groups.

FCs are specifically designed to enable lawyers to "elect" a lawyer, banks to "elect" a banker, and corporations to "elect" a businessman etc. They give the business and professional sectors greater influence. In addition to their vote in the GC, these groups are also eligible to vote in the FCs to fill seats reserved for those privileged sectors.

The FC elections permit corporate voting. Companies are allowed to vote on their behalf. This archaic system was extended by the Hong Kong SAR Government in the May 1998 elections. A study by Human Rights Monitor has found that some businessmen control multiple votes through controlling subsidiary companies. For instance a property developer owns at least 17 voting companies registered in the Real Estate functional constituency which only has 410 registered electors. He has an additional personal vote in that constituency. His electoral power in that Real Estate constituency is equivalent to 15,490 voters in the GCs. A businessman may control votes in other functional constituencies. For example, the property developer mentioned above controls another two votes in the Tourism functional constituency because he owns two tourism related companies.

The two smallest functional constituencies, the Urban Council and Regional Council, each has the size of 50 electors. The next smallest five have a total of 837 electors, return 5 Legislative Councillors. In GCs, it requires 700,000 electors to return the same number of (5) lawmakers. The gross disparity in voting powers indicates how the will of the public is diluted by the FCs.

Furthermore, those who are eligible to vote in FCs are also eligible to elect members to the Election Committee. The Election Committee elects 10 Legislative Councillors. Members of the Election Committee are either appointed, selected or elected by sub-sectors, many of which are identical to functional constituencies. So, the property developer mentioned above controls another 20 votes in the elections to the Election Committee. With his personal vote in the GC, he controlled altogether 41 votes in the last Legislative Council election.

Household chores are considered of insufficient importance to warrant a functional constituency for people doing them. Nor are home-makers allowed to participate in the Election Committee election. People doing such chores therefore have less votes, less representatives and are under-represented in the Legislative Council. As they are predominantly women, the current electoral system systematically works against women.

The political rights of women are further eroded by the fact that there are less women in important business or professional positions due to various socio-economic constraints. Women are less likely to be eligible to vote in FCs and for the Election Committee and therefore have less say in policy decision making and their interests and values are less represented in the legislative process. This unjust constitutional framework not only works against women's rights, it also threatens the protection of human rights and the rule of law generally.

According to the Government's Report paragraph 47, it cited that 24 out of the 166 candidates were women, ten of them were elected taking up 16% of the 60 member legislature. What it does not cite is the fact that the structure of the electoral system itself is very unfavourable to women. There are slightly more male than females electors in the geographical constituencies indicating the slightly higher proportion of males in our population. They returned 16 males and 4 females. A chart attached in Appendix I shows how male dominated is the functional constituencies. Among the 28 functional constituencies, 25 (which together return 28 seats) are male dominated while 3 (which together return 3 seats) are female dominated. In 21 of these functional constituencies (which together return 23 seats) female voters form less a quarter of their respective electorate. Only 3 women as compared to 27 men were elected in the functional constituency elections out of the 28 functional constituencies. The Election Committee is also very male dominated with 709 male electors and only 9 female electors. 8 males and 2 females were elected in the EC.

In its 1995 Concluding Observations on Hong Kong, the United Nations Human Rights Committee criticized the FCs in Hong Kong as breaching many articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including discriminating against women in participating in public life. It recommended that immediate steps should be taken to bring in line the electoral system with treaty standards. Since then, far from improving the system, the Hong Kong SAR Government has further narrowed down the size of the functional constituencies by 88% and revived the once abolished corporate voting system.

We therefore urge the UN Women's Committee to find the Functional Constituencies and the Election Committee to be in breach of Article 7 of the CEDAW and to recommend their abolition and replacement with genuine universal and equal suffrage based on a one-person-one-vote system.

3. Village Representation in the New Territories

Although Hong Kong's Sex Discrimination Ordinance prohibits overt discrimination in certain forms, it is a sad fact that gender discrimination is part of the culture and practice of many indigenous villages in the New Territories. The subordination of women in the political life of these villages is a common practice. Many villages still refuse to allow women to vote in village elections. In other villages, women have reported that they feel intimidated by the male-dominated establishment in the villages, which in turn prevents them from fully participating.

As the official organization set up originally by the colonial government to represent rural villagers, the Heung Yee Kuk is subject to legal regulation by the Heung Yee Kuk Ordinance (Cap. 1097). Discrimination in the election of the Council of the Heung Yee Kuk is prohibited by the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. However at lower levels the selection of family heads of household (who have a significant legal status in relation to property rights), of village representatives and of Rural Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen is not governed by statute, and has mostly been left unscrutinized for gender discrimination.

Discrimination can occur at the level of the family where a male member will usually act as the head of the household, a status which has legal significance both for land ownership and for rights to participate in village affairs. It can also occur in the process of choosing a Village Representative from amongst the heads of households. It is for example conceivable that a woman could stand as the head of a household (where there are no adult males in the family) but she could still be discriminated against when it comes to the choosing of a village representative. Village Representatives should be required to be elected not on a household basis but on an individual basis so that all villagers above a certain age are allowed to vote.

There are two main statutory approaches to ensuring non-discrimination at all levels of rural representation. The "centralized" approach involves the use of a single statute, which contains provisions that directly address the issue of discrimination at all levels of representation. The decentralized approach involves the insertion of non-discrimination clauses in the various statutes regulating individual levels of representation. The following paragraphs list several Hong Kong statutes which should be amended to eliminate discrimination against women in rural villages.

Section 7 of the Heung Yee Kuk Ordinance sets out that the Returning Officer is in charge of the elections, and may declare each person elected to be validly or invalidly elected. A clause should be added to specify the Returning Officer's duty to ensure that discrimination against women is prevented at all stages of the selection and election process. Section 8 provides that a Returning Officer may declare that a fresh election take place within 6 months of a vacancy occurring or an election being declared invalid. It should be amended to include another ground for a fresh election where an incident of discrimination has tainted the selection or election process.

These amendments attempt to ensure that the process of acquiring membership of the Heung Yee Kuk is free from any discriminatory practices. The original intention of the legislation was to give the returning officer a supervisory role only with respect to elections. The amendments expand the role of the officer to include monitoring of the selection and election processes. The non-discrimination qualification clause should be phrased broadly enough to apply to discriminatory practices at the Rural Committee and Village Representation to check all such practices at these levels.

The government in its report cites the Bill of Rights Ordinance (BORO) as giving permanent residents an equal right to vote without any distinction even sex. However Section 7(1) of this ordinance in fact says that the BORO binds only the government and all public authorities and any person acting on behalf of the Government or a public authority.

The Heung Yee Kuk may well fall into the BORO's scope of application. However it is quite unclear whether the BORO could also be applied to the Rural Committee and Village Representatives. Rural Committees and Village Representatives are arguably public authorities discharging important public functions in the rural areas. But uncertainty remains since this interpretation of the BORO has not been put to the test in a court of law. There are many discriminatory practices which take place at the level of the family household and the village. The determination of a head of household who will eventually go on to become a Village Representative may be free from attack by the BORO, unless the law is amended to place the issue beyond doubt.

Under Section 13 of the New Territories Ordinance, the court is given the power under this section to recognize and enforce any Chinese custom or customary right affecting the land in the New Territories. This section reinforces the unjust and discriminatory practices, especially those related to land succession, which should have been eliminated a long time ago. It is arguable that it has been partially repealed by the Bill of Rights, which repealed prior inconsistent legislation, but to place the matter beyond doubt it should be explicitly amended to prohibit the court from recognizing or enforcing any discriminatory practice.


1. Inequality in the Hong Kong Educational System

In an affluent society such as Hong Kong, education is important both in terms of future employment prospects and also to one's standing in society. The HKSAR Government reported in its submission to the CEDAW Committee in paragraphs 64 onwards that there were equal rights to education, and sex education was also portrayed as being quite comprehensive, however the reality is rather different. Gender participation in subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education examination shows a clear pattern of gender segregation in the arts including social science subjects as well as in the science stream. Since streaming is often carried out rather early on in the secondary school education, it is a known fact that teachers often advise boys to enter into the science stream and discourage girls unless they have exceptionally good results. In addition, a study has revealed that the transition from science subjects to arts is easier than the opposite. As a result, secondary school graduates from science subjects who are predominantly male have more choices and options of subjects when they apply for universities later.

Various explanations have been put forward in other societies to explain gender segregation of the school subjects, however unfortunately there has so far been no in-depth study on this issue locally. One explanation is different teacher and parental expectations for boys and girls. The contents of textbooks and classroom teaching has also contributed to the gender segregation. Science textbooks are full of images familiar to boys such as military and team sports whilst arts subjects are perceived to be related more to human relationships and emotions and thus are more appropriate for women. Vocational subjects are very clearly defined into "male" and "female" categories as well. A recent local newspaper has reported that there are still quite a few pre-vocational schools which only allow girls to take home economics and males to take design and technology. A Buddhist school was actually named in the report as only allowing males to take design and technology. The school claimed that they had this rule because males tended to choose subjects that involved a lot of physical labour. This sort of traditional way of thinking is a barrier towards equality within the schools. In other countries, the offering of different subjects to the two sexes is prohibited, this arrangement however seems perfectly acceptable in Hong Kong. In various studies done on the contents of history, social studies textbooks for secondary schools and Chinese language, social studies and health education textbooks for primary schools, there is a passivity of women in contrast to the initiative and activity of men, the invisibility and domesticity of women and the near monopoly of leadership by men in the political, social and intellectual arenas.

Statistics have shown that there is an obvious male leadership in universities and colleges. This phenomenon means that the "men at the top" would probably not be as gender sensitive when it comes to choosing textbooks and curricula, this is a manifestation of the inequality in itself. Our education system basically reflects the gender inequality existent in our society.

2. Sex Education - The lack of it

Historically, most schools have educated our young generation and carried on as though sex was non-existent. Though the Education Department has come out with some teaching kits on sexual attitudes along with voluntary institutions such as the Family Planning Association in Hong Kong, there seems to be an area of deficiency in the official materials. There seems to be a heavy emphasis on preventing unwanted youth pregnancies, human reproduction, and frequent warnings against "infatuation" and "sex-for-sex's sake", and often the emphasis on human reproduction which means the frequent appearance of the female reproductive system on illustrations.

Since these materials emphasize control, very rarely are subjects like self-gratification, male violence covered in the curriculum. The constant display of the female organs in the teaching materials also reinforce the idea that the woman's body is the object of male-initiated sex. Sexual exploitation is mentioned, however, instead of acknowledging sexual harassment as a violation of the victim's privacy and dignity, it is defined by the Education Department in its Guidelines on Sex Education in Secondary Schools as "coercion to fulfil one's desires". The materials merely deal with technical meanings, and ambivalence is shown to gender inequality.

However sex education courses that adopt the "stay-out-of-trouble" approach completely defeats the purpose of sex education. Once moralizing and sermonizing begins in the school curriculums, students generally "switch off". The minute a school tries to impose a code on premarital sex, masturbation, dating and other such subjects, it is placing itself in an awkward position. If different standards are adopted at home, then the children would be confused as to which standards to adopt. An ideal sex education programme would give students a chance to assess a wide span of behaviour, and gives students a set of values that they could choose from. A limited approach merely giving the facts on biology and anatomy such as is done in Hong Kong, merely presents the biological functions. To teach sex education properly, a teacher must not only have extensive knowledge of a variety of subjects - biology, psychology, sociology - but more importantly, an attitude of openness and understanding, a self-knowledge and an awareness of hidden prejudices. Most teachers in Hong Kong would not have this sort of training, and are generally reluctant to delve into detail when it comes to more sensitive questions or topics.

In addition, considering the colonial history to Hong Kong, it must be remembered that there are quite a number of missionary schools in Hong Kong, and it could be argued that that there could be a doubt as to how the religious teachings could be combined with sex education without prejudice. Human Rights Monitor knows of at least one Catholic school that preaches that for example, pre-marital sex, masturbation and taking contraceptives are considered to be sins, so how can these schools be expected to teach sex education effectively without contradicting with religion and without prejudice? Arguably the well-being of the students should be put before anything else. Knowledge of how to protect themselves is more important than sticking strictly to religion. It is also very evident that sex education is needed for youths of today with the confusing messages that modern films depict. Sex is often glorified without the responsibilities that come with it. A study asked some students where they got their sex education from and most said that their parents feel too embarrassed to approach the subject of sex, and most have received little formal sex education. Some got it from older siblings, from media resources, and boys mainly relied on their friends and the general "sex chat" of the school yard and the street corner.

3. Sexual Harassment on Campus and At Work

Sexual harassment is by no means uncommon in Hong Kong. The University of Hong Kong appointed an equal opportunity officer following an increase in sexual-harassment complaints. Recently pictures showing girls apparently undressing were placed on the Internet. A recent case taken up by the Equal Opportunities Commission involved the case of a Peeping Tom who videotaped a girl undressing at Chinese University.The case is at present being tried, and the victim fought back tears to tell the court that her one-time friend had shamelessly insulted her "dignity as a woman". She was horrified to discover her roommate's boyfriend had hidden a video camera in her university bedroom and filmed her undressing. The trial was still continuing at the time this report was written.

Young people should be taught to protect themselves properly in situations where they are being sexually harassed. The Education Department should consider including sexual harassment into all schools' curriculum. Many young girls may find it uncomfortable to be touched by a male teacher but may not dare to tell him about it. Human Rights Monitor learnt of at least one case where a secondary school helped to cover up a case of harassment of school girls by a male teacher to maintain the reputation of the school. Sexual harassment could also come in the form of verbal harassment. Many girls may find that they are uncomfortable to be touched by teacher. Failing to deal with the situations properly may erode youngsters' self-esteem and dignity.

Women's activists united to condemn intimidation against a student group fighting sexual harassment on campus. A suspect from the University of Hong Kong had been sending e-mails to a group called the XX Group which fights against sexual harassment. E-mails had been sent warning members not to continue their campaign or face being killed. The e-mail read "This is a letter to seriously warn you of not continuing your action, or you will receive annihilatory penalties." Some of the e-mails were accompanied by pornographic pictures. This is a threat to students in particular females, since it shows that sexual harassment is in fact supported by some. The fact that the identity of the culprit has been exposed but still not been released is in itself very oppressive to women. Sending the e-mail in itself is an act of sexual harassment and the message is a threat not only to students but also to women in the community.

Companies have also been reported to be ignoring their responsibilities to thousands of employees by stalling on guidelines for tackling sexual harassment. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union's hotline for advice on harassment at work has doubled in the past year. It is often difficult for the employee to complain especially when the person harassing is from the management side themselves. There are however some cases in which sexual harassment are being taken seriously, this can be seen from the recent case of a former chief inspector of the police force who had been found guilty by an internal investigative committee of violating the force's sexual harassment code on three occasions. It is important that the Government takes the initiative both to educate the people in the public and private sectors about sexual harassment and the consequences of harassing. This should be done also in the educational sector to educate both the teachers and the students about sexual harassment. Companies should also be encouraged to adopt codes on sexual harassment to provide a guide to employees. If the people are not educated about it then they would not be able to defend themselves if and when it happens to them.

Human Rights Monitor urges the Government to propose measures to address these problems in Hong Kong's education system and campuses.

D. Elderly Women

1. Shortage of Welfare

It is a well-known fact that women generally have a longer life expectancy than men. According to statistics from the Census and Statistics Department, with deaths per 100000 of people between age 45-64 in 1997, males account for approximately 580 and females 285. The population of elderly women at present account for 52.6% of the aging population. This shows that elderly women far outnumber elderly men in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chinese generally believe in filial piety as a family virtue. The elderly at this time have been themselves more immersed in their old traditional ways or Chinese traditions. Chinese men therefore have often had the benefit of more education, and more literate than the female counterparts. This would have put the men in a more enviable financial situation, and affect the way men adjusted to their retirement years. Elderly women on the other hand had little or no formal education, and would have had to take low paying jobs with little or no security. The elderly are unfortunately not eligible for pensions or income securities in Hong Kong since these are only afforded to employees of large corporations or of the government. Many elderly people are forced to work to maintain an existence.

Although the government often emphasizes the existence of a Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme in its report and also set out that an elderly person receives HK$2555 a month as set out in paragraph 140 of the Government's submission, what is provided is hardly enough to afford the elderly a minimum living standard with dignity. At present about 75% of the people receiving public assistance are elderly persons. About 52% of those are aged over 60 and are female. It is also a fact that medical expenses are not covered by welfare assistance, even though this age group is the exact group that needs the most medical care. Although there are free Government clinics which practice western medicine, however it is also a well-known fact that often the elderly because of their traditional background or customs, the elderly may prefer to take Chinese medicine, and this sort of traditional medicine is not covered. Government clinics also have quotas and often people have to "queue" for an operation, and if the old people could not wait because of severe pain or illness, then they would have to pay more for private consultations.

The elderly are often forced to go out to work because of the low assistance rates from the government. The elderly also often work long hours but with little return. Elderly women account for a higher proportion of elderly workers than men. They are often working in low paying and low benefit jobs such as domestic servants, cleaners and picking up cardboard boxes for resale. Because of their age and the decreasing prospects of getting employed, these elderly women are the most vulnerable and the most easily exploited group since they are willing to accept any sort of conditions and payments in order to secure a job. However quite often the wages they get and the hours they put in are often not proportional and often not enough to enjoy a good living condition.

The Committee should urge the Government to come up with measures to address the poverty problem of the elderly.

2. Elderly Abuse

Abuse of the elderly remains a problem that is under-recognized and insufficiently acknowledged. Although there still seems to be a lack of research into this area in Hong Kong, it is without a doubt that this sort of problem exists. Abuse and neglect may be derived from an environment of cultural and economic ambivalence towards older people. Elder mistreatment is indeed a growing problem in most Western societies and since Hong Kong is equally affluent, it will inevitably or already have a similar problem. This aspect was not touched upon in the Government's submission at all.

There have been certain cases of elderly women being beaten up by their children, as tensions arose with the amount of people living in such a small area. These are problems that are waiting to happen. Because of the fact that housing is relatively expensive in Hong Kong, elderly women or the elderly in general would not be able to afford the exhorbent prices or even the price of going into an old age home. In other cases, the elderly are forced to live in cramped conditions which almost amounts to a pitiful existence. These problems all amount back to the fact that there is a lack of public assistance given to the elderly in Hong Kong. The welfare and assistance given to these old people should be further enhanced or increased to improve the living conditions of the elderly and to provide them with enough money to enable them not to have to live in poverty.

The Committee should urge the Government to examine the problem of elderly abuse and come up with effective measures to address it.

E. Employment

1. Female-Friendly work environment

The rate of the labour force participation by women in Hong Kong has been steadily increasing. However when it comes to protecting women in the labour force, Hong Kong still has a long way to go. Being capital and economically centred, Hong Kong's employers will often think of the capital gain rather than the welfare of its workers. Women are also still disproportionately under-represented in the higher-status occupations. The International Labour Organization has been in the forefront in building a body of law that protects women's equal rights in the workplace and safeguards against occupational hazards and discrimination. In countries such as Italy, provision is made for women to work and allowances are made for their domestic responsibilities. Sweden is one of the few countries that has model provisions for parental leave, amounting to a total of nine months at 90% of the mother's earning, protection of her seniority and guaranteed return to her job. Family is often seen to be a major obstacle to a woman's advancement to her career, however if there is a guaranteed time for "recovery" and a job waiting, this would not discourage women from starting families and prevent them from having to start all over again. At present, a pregnant employee can have no-pay maternity leave when she has worked for at least 26 weeks, and 10 weeks of paid maternity leave when she has worked for 40 weeks. But the wage is only 4/5 to the normal wage. This inevitably would create more pressure on the employee to come back to work sooner.

In spite of laws in place to protect rights of pregnant women, many still find that being pregnant can be hazardous to their jobs. According to a local newspaper report, when a woman told her boss that she was pregnant, she had been mistreated and isolated in the work-place. The boss apparently embarked on a plot to get rid of her even though he was not allowed to sack a pregnant employee under the Employment Ordinance. This ordinance entitles a pregnant worker to 10 weeks' maternity leave if she had worked continuously for the same employer for at least 26 weeks. The boss circulated a memo forbidding colleagues to talk to her within and after office hours, or they would be subject to fines of $50 - $500. She had to ask for permission to go to the toilet or to drink water, although the case had been taken up by the Labour Department, it just shows that pregnant workers are often subject to this sort of hardship. This case came to light when the Equal Opportunities Commission was just set up, however after dismissal it would already be too late for employees. The Government should embark on more high-profile education campaigns to educate employers about their female employees' rights, and administer heavier penalties for breaches.

Surveys overseas have shown that accountants who work full-time typically put in an additional eight to ten hours a week on top of their contractual working hours, this is far from unusual in Hong Kong. 58% of women were said to have found that work in the future would need a balance between work and family life. One in three women were said to prefer to work part time or in a jobshare if their employer allowed it. Barriers to women's progression in work is evident. Women who have young children would find themselves more committed to them than their careers, and if the work environment is such that it is impossible for them to look after their children, then women will have no choice but to abandon their work and pick it up when the children are older .

The Equal Opportunities Commission in the United Kingdom in fact stated that part-time working or jobsharing may make it easier for women to return to work after maternity leave and for men and women to provide childcare and eldercare for their dependents. Refusing to allow an employee to work part time can in certain circumstances even amount to unlawful discrimination. This would increase efficiency and staff morale. However whatever arrangements are made for working non-standard hours these should apply or be made available to both male and female employees. Certain American firms in Hong Kong have adopted flexi-time work hours, whereby an employee could work their allocated number of hours at any time of the day, thus allowing mothers time to look after their children if necessary. However this concept is still relatively unheard of in Hong Kong, but it would aid in integrating women into the workforce. The employers in Hong Kong could be educated to be more flexible with the maternity leave. The usual practice is to allow 4 weeks before the delivery and 6 weeks after the delivery of the baby. They could be more flexible and let the women to work part-time after the delivery for example letting the employee to work half a day and add it up to 6 weeks, if she is physically able to so it gives the employee more choice.

In view of the fact that many workers believe that they have made sacrifices at home to pursue their career, and some have even felt that by putting work before family they have missed out on watching their children grow up. Surveys done in the United Kingdom have shown that one in three respondents felt that their organisation was doing all that it could do to help staff maintain a healthy balance between work and home life, and over eight out of 10 respondents felt that they had sacrificed something important at home for the sake of their career. One in 10 women have forgone the opportunity to have children, and women were also twice as likely as men to have difficulties forming relationships because of their work. When asked what one thing they would change to improve work, a quarter of the respondents cited working fewer hours, the second most popular response was changing company culture followed closely by working flexible hours. With Hong Kong being as equally affluent as the United Kingdom, it is hardly surprising that the Chinese women would face similar problems as their British counterparts.

The Government should consider ways to promote a more female friendly working environment.

2. Public Policies and Working Women

Public policies often have an adverse effect on women whether a working women or otherwise. The Mandatory Provident Fund which is being proposed by the Government and to be implemented in 1999, covers workers from ages 18-65 and those with a wage of $4000 or above. However, this fund can only protect those workers who earn $4000 or more. What about the female workers, who more often than men, do part-time work or even earn less than that? They may not be able to benefit from the scheme. Women homemakers are also denied such a protection.

Although there is at present legislation preventing sex discrimination, family status discrimination and disability discrimination, there is still no legislation preventing age discrimination. At present, Hong Kong women above 30 who try to look for work suffer from age discrimination. Many shops advertize for shop assistants who are less than 30 years of age, and electronics factories prefer to hire women under the age of 30. Though the Government admitted in paragraphs 90 - 93 of its submission that there is such a problem of age discrimination, it cited divergent views as the reason why it would not legislate to protect this group of women. The Equal Opportunities Commission also admitted recently that its hands are tied when it comes to helping victims of age discrimination. This means that victims really have no channel for redress.

Migrant workers from other countries working in Hong Kong are also afforded little protection and often suffer from racial discrimination in Hong Kong. There is however no legislation in Hong Kong protecting them from this sort of discrimination even though Hong Kong had acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and is bound to enact laws to prohibit this sort of discrimination. At present there are 178,458 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong with 90% of them being women. The immigration policies towards these women could be argued to be arbitrary and could make life harder for them as can be seen from the two week rule which is seen to be targeted at foreign domestic helpers, the majority being women and from the Philippines. This rule means that a foreign domestic helper would be committing a criminal offence if she remains in Hong Kong for more than 2 weeks after she was terminated, even if she was indecently assaulted, not paid her wages, her passport withheld or not provided with a ticket to leave Hong Kong. If there are any complaints against the previous employer a visitor's visa could be applied for but would only be granted at the discretion of the Department and only when fees are paid to the Department. If the domestic helper wished to file monetary claims at the Labour Department, her visa is extended but she is not allowed by the Immigration Department to take up jobs. The Hong Kong Government does not extend financial assistance or shelter for the helper whilst her case is ongoing in Hong Kong. This is unnecessarily harsh on these female workers.

Persistent calls to reduce the wages of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong by lowering the minimum wages and by lengthening the number of hours of work to 16 hours a day would mean that they would only be earning approximately HK$7-HK$8 or US$1 an hour. This is very hypocritical in view of the current economic situation and the calls to protect local workers, but then the rights of the domestic helpers seems to be ignored.

The Committee should urge the Government to come up with mechanisms to ensure that women's interest would be properly taken into consideration in its policy formulation and to address existing policies, including those mentioned above, which cause hardship to women.

F. Health of Women

1. Priorities and Women's Health

Traditionally, women have always put the health of the family before their own. When examining the Government's submission to CEDAW, it could be seen that in view of women's health, the Government puts maternal health care services to the forefront. The Women Health Centre set up by the Government as stated in the Government's submission from para 127 onwards, also only caters for women who are over 45. The services are also on the expensive side. An annual fee of $310 is usually charged for cervical smear tests, and $225 for mammograms. However, in spite of the services that have been said to be provided, nothing is really said about the realities of the health situation of females in general in Hong Kong.

There have always been cultural taboos about discussion of private parts, or sexuality. Because of a lack of sex education, many women are unaware of the functionings of their own sexual organs. The health system of Hong Kong generally focuses on pre-natal and post-natal care of women, and not as much on the younger females or the older generation. According the Beijing Platform for Action, women's health involves "their emotional, social and physical well-being and is determined by the social, political, and economic context of their lives, as well as by biology." Sexual and reproductive health seems particularly lacking in our health system. The Department of Health's 50 Maternal and Child Care Centres do reach a majority of pregnant women and babies. The coverage for antenatal care is high, but then there is a lack of attention to the psychological well-being of the mother, such as postpartum depression, suicide and infanticide. The Well Women Clinics only serve women aged 45 or above as stated above as cited in paragraph 127 of the Government's submission, however, it is a well known fact that women should as early as in their 20s start to have regular cervical screenings. It is also common knowledge that not only women who are over 40 have more of a risk to contract cervical cancer. The fact that these services are so expensive means that those in the lower income bracket could not possibly afford to have regular screenings.

The psychological well-being is also rarely looked at. Though post-natal depression is a known problem to expectant mothers, there is as yet no special effort on the part of the government to help these women. No protection is afforded to these women who due to misunderstanding lose their jobs.

Menopause is also a biological stage which is not well publicised through education by the government. Prevailing attitudes towards menopause are predominantly negative. In societies whereby women are defined through their reproductive functions, women who are menopausal "lose their femininity", and negative language is often used to label these women. Negative attitudes towards the menopause are also the consequence of its association with aging. Having lost their youth and fertility women are no longer considered sexually attractive, and it has been said that menopause is a humiliating process of sexual disqualification". The physical trauma that accompanies menopause such as hot flushes and irritability could often affect the female at work. However, since there is a lack of education on this topic on both sexes in Hong Kong, it is quite likely that the women do not even know what is happening to their bodies.

2. Youth Pregnancies

52% of Hong Kong Women have had their first pregnancy between the ages of 18 - 20. This is evidence that not enough is being done to educate Hong Kong's youth about how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies. The role of sex education and knowledge of how to use contraceptive devices could have prevented the recent rise in teenage pregnancies in Hong Kong. It requires the approval of two doctors to allow legal abortions in Hong Kong. Many women choose to have abortion in neighbouring Shenzhen where procedures are much simpler and faster, though not necessarily as safe.

There are in Hong Kong organizations such as Mother's Choice which helps young girls to carry their babies to full term and to arrange for adoption for the unwanted babies. However, priority on the Government's part is providing more moral and basic education, such as "saying no", since many "first timers" have often felt compelled to have sex, not being aware that they do have a choice to refuse. Youngsters often equate sex with love which is completely misguided and these misconceptions should be corrected.

There is often a presumption that women should take the lead in taking precautions. This comes in the form of taking the oral contraceptive, wearing a diaphragm, sponge etc. There have been advertising campaigns on television before about the need to wear condoms to prevent aids, but there is a lack of awareness of how to use them, or a misconception that sex would be less enjoyable with a condom. However, why should a woman be forced to suffer the side-effects that come with taking the female contraceptive pill? More sex education should also be given to males as they too need to be responsible and to make them aware that they too should share the responsibility of contraception. There are researches being done to come up with a male version of the contraceptive pill in the form of injections which is expected to be launched next year, however being such a traditionalist society, it seems unlikely that this form of contraception would become popular. The Government should also be more involved in the promotion of this sort of contraception when it becomes available on the market.

The Committee should recommend the Government to provide better health and sex education and services to meet the special medical and other needs of women of different ages.

G. Women's Issues related to the Laws of Hong Kong and their enforcement

a. The Girl Child

1. Child Abuse

Nothing much has been said about the girl child in the Government's submission to the UN except child care facilities in paragraph 109. Child abuse has seen a rise in the 1990s and 60% of the cases are girls. Housewives are the main culprits amongst the abusers, however this is a relatively cultural aspect since most Chinese families believe in corporal punishment as a way to rear children. In child sexual abuse cases, 90% of the abusers are male.

Society has commonly held beliefs and misconceptions about child sexual abuse. Often the children are often lying about being sexually abused, that the children are usually sexually abused by dirty old men who are strangers, that sexual contact between a child and an adult is not harmful if the child is not forced to participate, that incest is not harmful, and that mothers who do not report it essentially approve of the behaviour. In fact, research in the States has found that often the children are often abused by someone they know or trust, that the child usually feels helpless in this situation, children have been sexually abused have more psychological problems than those who have not, and often mothers are not aware of their abuse.

Early research has shown that most of the children at high risk were thought to be in family environments and circumstances that were typical of the normal family environment. Several factors heighten the risk. One of these factors is being a girl; girls are at higher risk for sexual abuse. Many studies have also indicated that children at the highest risk are those between the age of 8 - 12 years. Although it is a common perception that child sexual abuse is more prevalent in the lower echelons of society, many people in middle and upper classes have the opportunity to take their children to private physicians who are often less likely to report abuse to the authorities, whilst public health doctors and emergency room doctors are more likely to make these reports.

This problem is certainly existent in Hong Kong as can be seen from the statistics provided by the Police Department on the number of child pornography seized. Hong Kong needs specific legislation against production, sale and distribution and possession of child pornography. Education is certainly needed to give younger children knowledge of what sex abuse is, and this could be done through progressive sex education from the junior years of school. Children are often taught that they should not talk to strangers and not to take candy from strangers, however, less emphasis is placed on the need for the child to protect one's self even from its own family. Children should be taught to differentiate between "good" and "bad" touches and how to say no. This sort of training and education is rather lacking in Hong Kong's present education system and requires additional efforts.

2. Divorce, Maintenance and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance

Matrimonial disputes are usually emotionally charged and as such differ from other legal disputes. The reason why it is often an emotional experience for both parties is because either one party does not want to go through with it or one party has to initiate litigation to make sure that he or she would not be left "in the dry".

Women are generally not very aware of how to protect their assets or gain what is rightfully theirs. When the marriage was not completely on the rocks, there would usually be a consensus to put property under both parties' names, such as real property or joint bank accounts or accounts in the husband's or wife's sole name. Usually when there is divorce, the richer party, in some cases the husband, may decide to remove all or most of the money from any joint bank accounts, and perhaps even move all the money from individual accounts to other sources. The spouse may also try to dispose of or deal with the assets and have them transferred out of Hong Kong. Many women especially those who are less well-educated may be unaware that they could prevent this from happening, and by the time they find out it may be too late. They may be unaware that they could apply for an injunction and restrain the spouse from doing so. An order could be made to freeze the assets of the spouse's bank accounts. For real property there is a presumption that if it is held in the sole name of the party, then the person would be solely entitled to the property.

Modern property is such that the judge when deciding who should be getting the property, the decision is made as to what is fair is made by the judge. The division of the property is settled by the judge in such manner as he thinks just according to all the events in relation to the property that have occurred. This although seemingly fair does not redress the fact that the woman's contribution domestically may not be necessarily recognized in all incidences.

At times, the spouse may think that once an order had been issued by the court, it would mean that it is the end of the matter. However sometimes the spouse would not abide by the order. In this case, the main remedy for the spouse is to apply to the court for him or her to be committed to prison for contempt of court. The Government's submission did mention in paragraph 183 that The Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance and the Separation and Maintenance Orders Ordinance, maintenance orders could be made. However, nothing is mentioned about the difficulties involved in obtaining such a payment. Although there had recently been amendments to facilitate those collecting maintenance payments. If a maintenance payer defaults without reasonable excuse, the court is empowered to issue an order of attachment to that person's income source. The order requires the income source (for example the payer's employer) to deduct the amount due from the payer's income and to pay the money deducted direct to the maintenance payee. How about if the husband lives overseas? This problem seems to be a difficult one to address.

Divorced women, especially single mothers, deprived of maintenance for various reasons sometimes have to rely on public assistance. At present single parents on Comprehensive Social Security Assistance are given the choice of not working until their youngest child has reached the age of fifteen. The Social Welfare Department however actually argued this policy to be overly generous by referring to "emerging international practice" and aims to get single parents back into the workforce. However, the lack of child care services in Hong Kong should be a factor that should be taken into account. The limited child care services are not provided to enable working parents to be able to leave their children to care centres before they go to work and pick them up after office hours. A survey done by the Ecumenical Grassroots Development Centre revealed that most of the female Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients wanted to earn money to support their families rather than rely on public assistance. Most single mothers viewed public assistance as a kind of temporary solution to support their family, and more than 70% of the recipients wanted to find a part-time job. One woman who had registered at the Labour Department for more than four years, has not had the offer of a single interview. Government departments do not seem sincere in their efforts in helping recipients but are more than willing to cut their assistance.

3. Women in Prisons

a. The prison system

In September 1997, the Hong Kong prison system held 12,000 prisoners. With a prisoner-to-population ratio of about 200 per 100,000, a relatively high rate for Asia. Hong Kong's twenty three penal facilities, are administered by the Hong Kong Correctional Services Department (CSD). It has a staff of 7000. These facilities include adult prisoners - minimum, medium and maximum security - juvenile institutions, a remand centre for male prisoners awaiting trial, a psychiatric centre, and mandatory drug addiction treatment centres. Some institutions serve more than one purpose. Although the prison population is unevenly distributed among them, more than half of these institutions are overcrowded.

Like prison populations everywhere, the Hong Kong population is largely male. Women prisoners do however account for 12% of the prison population, a far higher proportion than found in most prison systems. It should also be noted that the women's' prison population has grown at a tremendous rate in recent years. Women's penal institutions in Hong Kong include the Tai Lam Centre for Women (for adult prisoners and remands), Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution (for adult prisoners), Chi Ma Wan Drug Addiction Treatment Centre (for drug addicts) and Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution (for women and girls separately). Statistics given on 1 March 1998 show that overcrowding is still prevalent. In Victoria Prison where males and females are detained for removal or deportation from Hong Kong the prison capacity is 438 and the population 542. Similarly, at the Tai Lam Centre for Women the capacity is 278 and the population stands at 414. In spite of the overcrowding, no new women's prisons are planned.

Although officially there is an emphasis on work, education, and training in the Hong Kong correctional system, and rehabilitation is regarded as one of goals of imprisonment, the reality is different, especially for adult women. Jobs are allocated to the women, according to a CSD spokesperson "to stop them from getting bored because if they do not have anything to do, they start planning things", and secondly to get them into a work habit.In this respect, it could be seen that the skills acquired would not help the women to rejoin the workforce in the future.

Women in Tai Lam are taught to sew. This will offer them few jobs when they are released basically because most garment factories have moved out of Hong Kong to Mainland China. Others work in the laundry - again a field that is not much in demand. Others are made to make envelopes and cotton balls which are completely useless skills. Training should be able to prepare the inmates to engage in gainful employment after their release and thereby helping them to re-integrate into the community. According to CSD information, industries which are taught in the rehabilitative process, includes laundry, garment-making, silk screening, carpentry, fibreglass, precast concrete, metal work, knitting, shoe-making and leather work, envelope making, printing and book-binding. However at Tai Lam during the inspection visit by Human Rights Monitor and Human Rights Watch in March 1997, women were only seen to be doing unskilled work which did not provide useful training. Fortunately, some young women in Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institute are trained to be beauticians or hairdressers.

Prisoners on remand usually have little or nothing to do besides sitting at tables all day and watching television, playing Chinese checkers, or reading the newspaper. Under the Prison Rules, remand prisoners are supposed to have the option of working, but largely because of overcrowding stretching the system's resources, the option exists only on paper. A booklet for remand prisoners contains a paragraph about the option of working, but sometimes prisoners are not given the booklet unless they ask for it. At Tai Lam, the women remand prisoners are assigned to tables and required to sit there all day, except for meals and exercise, and are not allowed to leave the tables without permission. This level of discipline seems unnecessarily high for prisoners who are all presumed innocent. Dangerous remand prisoners warranting such a high level of control could be placed in a different group. The Superintendent of Tai Lam Centre was asked why remand prisoners could not work and why the prisoners were not informed of their right to work. The response was that if the remand prisoners requested jobs, the prison would have to create jobs and seek financial resources from the headquarters. Work for remand prisoners is obviously not budgeted for but could have been as Hong Kong can certainly afford to provide work for them.

There are half-day schools in training centres. There is only one training centre for women (Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institute). Young women offenders below 21 (sometimes up to 24) are usually imprisoned in the Tai Tam Gap training centre to give them a better chance of education. Classes in languages, mathematics, computers, etc. are provided. However, young women who have committed serious offences are not allocated to Tai Tam Gap which is a minimum security prison but to Tai Lam (where the security is higher) and therefore they are deprived of the chance of schooling.

Education in prisons (other than the training centre) designed for adult women is limited. English, Cantonese and Mandarin are taught by volunteers in the evening, but there is no systematic coursework. Moral education is taught once a week by volunteers. Inmates are encouraged to undertake private study at various levels but there is little real support except for allowing these inmates to have books and longer hours of lighting to prepare for examinations, and financial assistance to pay the fees for taking up courses with the Open University. Many of the prisoners are half-literate or illiterate but the prison does not have any compulsory literacy classes for these women. Young women below the age of 21 but imprisoned in adult institutions and young illegal immigrants (mainly from Mainland China) housed in Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institute also have little chance of education. In line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Juveniles in custody, all young Mainland and Hong Kong prisoners should be required to attend classes. Young girls should also be told that they have a right to an education even while in prison. Measures should be taken to educate the young inmates irrespective of where they are held and to assist illiterate adult inmates to become literate. The Correctional Services Department should also offer meaningful vocational training classes to all inmates. The Employees Retraining Board which specializes on training people to keep up with the job market should extend its mandate to train the inmates.

The Prison Rules specify that women prisoners must be supervised by women guards. In compliance with this rule and with international standards, very few male staff members work in the women's prisons, and those that do are accompanied by a female officer when they come into contact with prisoners. However even with so few male staff, incidents of abuse have occurred. In May 1989 a boiler room instructor at Tai Tam Gap sexually assaulted a female inmate. He was later convicted of two counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to thirty month's imprisonment. Human Rights Monitor has received complaints from male teachers that they were often locked up in a classroom with female inmates during the class, a measure probably in breach of the Prison Rules. No male staff should be left alone with female inmates and female teachers should have been recruited to teach such inmates. Training should also be provided to teachers to help them to deal with the special situation in penal institutions.

b. The Justices of the Peace System

One of the tests of a good prison system is the extent to which it has effective mechanism in place to monitor conditions and report abuses. Although this does not solely apply to female prisoners they are necessarily affected by a poor system.

In Hong Kong there is a superficial profusion of prison monitoring bodies. Prisoners' grievances may in principle be aired before CSD internal bodies, visiting justices of the peace, the office of the Ombudsman, and the courts. Justices of the Peace (JPs) are the primary mechanism for outside monitoring of Hong Kong prisons. Appointed by the Chief Executive (previously by the Governor), JPs enjoy an array of formal powers, although their main practical function is to visit prisons and other institutions. The job of a JP is not a full-time occupation, but rather more of an honorary post. JPs include both government officials, known as official JPs and members of the public known as unofficial JPs.

According to the Prison Rules, each prison is to be visited by two Justices of the Peace (one official and one unofficial) every fifteen days. Training centres, detention centres, and drug addiction centres, in contrast receive JP visits once a month. Within this prescribed period, JPs have considerable flexibility to choose the date and time of their visits and they can arrive without giving prior notice. JPs normally receive a fifteen minute to half hour orientation from the facility superintendent, then tour the facility in the company of the superintendent or a high-ranking officer. Although the amount of time spent at the facility varies according to its size and the JPs preferences, they normally spend between one and a half to three hours per visit.

There are serious defects in the approach and methodology of the Hong Kong system of JP visits. Because JPs have no specific training or experience in prison matters, they are ill prepared to delve beneath the surface in investigating conditions. In addition their visits are largely overseen by the prison authorities. One knowledgeable observer, commenting on this problem described the JPs prison tours as "staged visits". Indeed the Prison Rules specifically mandate that a high-ranking officer accompany the JPs around the prison and "bring before them" any prisoners wishing to speak to them. Although a few prison officials stated, when pressed on this point, that the JPs might if they preferred speak with prisoners privately it is quite clear that the normal practice is for JPs to speak with prisoners in the presence of prison officials.

The JP system suffers from a serious lack of continuity and follow-through. Instead of repeat visits by the same inspector over a period of time, which would permit that person to evaluate whether conditions were improving and recommended improvements were being implemented, every fifteen days a different pair of JPs visit.

4. Women and Violence

a. Rape

The Government's report cited legislation which are there to provide protection of women against violence, however little is said about the problems that are faced by these women and the inadequacies of the system. Rape is a violation against women which was not even worth a mention from the Government's viewpoint.

Do women want to be raped? Do we crave humiliation, degradation and violation to our bodily integrity? Do we psychologically need to be seized, taken, ravished and ravaged? Must a feminist deal with this preposterous question? The sad answer is yes, it must be dealt with, because the popular culture that we inhabit, absorb and even contribute to, has so decreed. Actually, as we examine it, the cultural messages often conflict. Sometimes the idea is floated that all women want to be raped and sometimes we hear that there is no such thing as rape at all, that the cry of rape is merely the cry of female vengeance in postcoital spite. Either way the woman is at fault. (Brownmiller, 1975, pp. 347-348)

There are fundamental misconceptions about rape, these are that all women want to be raped, no woman can be raped against her will, she was asking for it, if you are going to be raped you might as well enjoy it. In Hong Kong, rape is more or less still a taboo subject. Negative attitudes is generally associated with traditionalism. Rape myths often function to sustain the oppression of women in patriarchal societies. A finding by Betty Lee and Fanny Cheung in 1991 who used the Attitudes toward Rape Victims Scale to examine attitudes held by clinical psychologists, social workers, nurses and police officers in Hong Kong has reported that psychologists and social workers held the most favourable attitudes toward victims whilst police maintained the least favourable attitudes. From a comparison of statistics between the figures published by the Hong Kong Police Force on rape statistics and those published by the Family Planning Association, it shows that there is a substantial proportion of victims not reporting to the police.

The following table will show data of victims of rape compiled by the Family Planning Association: It shows a great number of victims are generally reluctant to report rapes.


Victims who have Reported

Victims who have not Reported


































































Rape legislation could be found in the Crimes Ordinance Cap.200 of the Laws of Hong Kong Section 118. Marital rape however is not considered to be an offence in Hong Kong, even though in the United Kingdom it was recognized that a woman could be raped by her husband in 1993. This absence in the law is particularly worrying as it provides no protection for women who may seemingly feel that they do not have a choice. Those who have been forced to have intercourse whilst awaiting separation from the husband may also be at risk from an "angry" husband intent on "revenge".Studies in the United Kingdom have shown that 70% of the rapists are known to their victims, any argument of traditional culture is merely a mask of oppression to women. Similar research needs to be done in Hong Kong to understand and better cope with the issue.

There is generally no governmental support extended to rape victims. Generally when a victim arrives to a hospital in Hong Kong, since there is no "sexual assault" unit within the hospital, these victims are often transferred back to another department. These victims are usually transferred back to the Forensic Pathology Services, even after having been examined by the other doctors. This may be arguably because of the fact that the doctors do not want to get involved with any lawsuits. This shows a complete disregard by the doctors of the victim's emotional state. It is also of no coincidence that most doctors who work at the Forensics section are mostly male, and thus these victims really have no choice about the sexes of the doctors. Although the Family Planning Association has support care for victims, the unfortunate fact is that it does not run a 24 hour service. This leaves with victims who have been raped during the evening or the early hours of the morning with no recourse.

The Government in its submission to the CEDAW Committee in paragraphs 31 - 33, praised the work of the Police Force to the victims. Training was said to have been introduced to teach officers to address issues of prejudices and stereotyping of rape victims. However, victims frequently report insensitive and difficult encounters in their dealings with police officers when they have made police reports. Victims still frequently complain about the need to provide statements at police stations, the need for long periods of "interrogation". Video statements should be used to avoid the victim from having to repeat the interrogation process all over again.

Whether to prosecute the rapist or not is a matter which is left to the prosecuting side. Victims are often not told of why or why not the rapist was not prosecuted. The victim is often not even met by the prosecuting side prior to the trial. At the present stage there is no victim support service for the victim to brief her on the court procedure and to counsel her during the traumatic experience of having to come face-to-face with one's aggressor. The questioning of the victim's sexual history is often allowed at the discretion of the judge. This unnecessarily sheds a bad light on the victim. What should be focused on is the act of violation and not previously consented to sexual acts. Many defence lawyers also claim that a victim of rape should display more injuries, however it was found that only 35% of these women showed bodily injuries, bleeding from genital injuries, 8% from vulval injuries, 10% from hymeneal injuries. This shows that in the majority of cases, women are too scared to struggle during the process for fear of their lives.

There should be a rape crisis centre such as those in Taiwan which could offer assistance to victims and also provide counselling and examinations. At present, in Hong Kong the victim has to go through many different procedures. Women should also be educated on their rights. They should be educated as to what they should do in case of rape and which organizations or departments could help them and where they should go to first. The problem is that Hong Kong still considers this to be a taboo subject and most people believe that this subject could only be read about in the papers and would not happen to them. In fact, 38% of women who were raped either cleaned or washed their genitalia immediately after rape, though this is a natural psychological reaction, this also decreases the chance of the relevant agencies from obtaining the necessary evidence to prove that there had been rape.

Marital rape as mentioned before has not been legislated for even though. Statistics provided by Harmony House has shown that 37% of the admitted women were abused by their partners. Many of these women expressed that sex is almost a woman's obligation to a man.

b. Wife Battery

Domestic violence undoubtedly exists in any society. In many societies, women are regarded as subordinate to men. It is a common theme that in sociological literature on "domestic violence" that the police do not consider it as proper police work. Police often see these incidences as domestic issues. Traditional values often highlight that women could be dominated over and using violence against them is no big deal. Domestic violence is frighteningly widespread. This can be from the occasional slap to regular beatings. Sometimes one party's behaviour falls short of being violent but could be considered violent.

Statistics from 30,000 hotline calls were received for Harmony House. About 2000 women and 2500 children have been admitted into its shelter. At the moment, The Crimes Ordinance, Offences Against the Person Ordinance and Domestic Violence Ordinance are described as legislation protecting women against violence. However this sort of legislation is not very comprehensive. Women who are faced with violence could apply for a court order known as an injunction. This could vary from an order restraining one party from assaulting, molesting, or even interfering with the other party or with any child living with the applicant (non-molestation injunction), requiring one party to leave the home (ouster injunction). Although the notice period required for the hearing of an application is very short, many victims have complained that the process is too slow. Some victims have complained that they often have to wait at least three months before they could get a restraining order. In addition, a restraining order could only be restricted to areas such as place of residence and work areas, thus the woman would not be protected in other areas.

Usually when a woman is faced with an abusive and violent husband, her first reaction would be to call the police. However, the sad fact is that they may give short-term protection, but will not necessarily arrest your spouse and charge him or her with an offence. Allegations of domestic violence are not always taken seriously. The police will usually talk sternly to your spouse and then leave as soon as the situation has calmed down, however this would not be very helpful for women who have to face the abuse and violence again. Studies in the U.S. has shown that unlike other victims of violent crime, battered women are often viewed by the police, the prosecutor, judges, jurors, and probation/parole staff as responsible for the crimes committed against them - responsible either because battered women are believed to "provoke" the perpetrator into violence or because they are believed to have the power to avoid the criminal assault through accommodating the perpetrator's demands. U.S. data have also revealed that law enforcement routinely classifies domestic assault as a misdemeanor even though the criminal conduct involved actually included bodily injury as serious or more serious than 90% of all rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. In a study in Hong Kong of domestic disputes and the police response, it was suggested that statistics on criminal justice did not accurately reflect the extent of the problem of domestic violence in Hong Kong. The researcher observed that only cases involving serious personal injury would be recorded and processed as a crime. Appendix II attached is a case example which will illustrate the inadequacies and insensitivities of how the police deal with wife battery cases.

At present there is no legislation as such to prevent stalking. The Domestic Violence Ordinance does not provide for any provisions on stalking. The methods employed by most stalkers include various harassing behaviour such as unwelcome visits, repeated unwanted communications (whether oral, written or electronic); repeated followings etc. 75%-80% of stalkers in the United States are men. Stalking may cause serious physiological and psychological problems to the victims. In R v Ireland, the defendant in the case made numerous calls to three women and remained silent when they answered. The women were seen to have suffered psychological symptoms, such as palpitations, difficulty in breathing, stress, anxiety, inability to sleep, tearfulness, headaches, dizziness, tingling in the fingers, a skin condition brought about by nervousness, and a constant feeling of being on edge. Since stalking is not a crime in Hong Kong, there has never been any study of the phenomenon of stalking in Hong Kong, the statistical prevalence of stalking in the territory is unknown.

It is conceded that something has to be done to stop stalkers, however incarceration may not be very productive. Incarceration not only prevents stalkers from committing a second offence, it also gives the victim time to rearrange her personal affairs or escape to a safe place. It assures victims that they can be safe at least whilst the stalker is in prison. However the main problem is that the authorities cannot lock up the stalker for good, and the problem will always exist if the stalker has an infatuation for the target. Psychological help may be needed for the person rather than just being locked up, since some stalkers may simply enjoy being in the same courtroom as the victim as it gives the stalker a chance to get extremely close to the target. In addition the Domestic Violence Ordinance only deals with abuse from an aggressor in a marital relationship. However what about those who are only in a boyfriend or girlfriend relationship or those who have separated from a marriage are most likely to be subject to stalking or physical abuse. Thus it would be very important for there to be legislation to protect this group of potential victims.The government should consider rehousing these women and even aiding the children of these women to look for new school places in extreme cases of abuse. The homes or refuges for battered women generally would not allow children over a certain age to stay there, so there is definitely a need for the Government to redress this inadequacy.

Even though Section 40 of the Offences Against the Persons Ordinance provides that any person who is convicted of a common assault would be guilty of an offence triable either summarily or upon indictment, and shall be liable to imprisonment for up to a year. Assault is basically any act by which the defendant intentionally or recklessly causes the person to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence. This offence is however not used often to help women who fear their violent husbands or stalkers. Since this offence merely needs the victim to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence then the victim would have a remedy.

Education would greatly help in understanding the plight of battered women. If curriculums in schools strike out against the stereotyping of women as being subordinate to men, then children will not grow up into adults who would think that they have property rights over women, and can do what they want with them.

H. Conclusion

The observations made from the selected topics show that not only has the Government's Report on CEDAW omitted many aspects of women's rights, it also shows that the cultural aspect and taboos in Hong Kong society prevents the advancement of women's rights in certain aspects. This report is by no means an overall coverage of problems encountered by women in Hong Kong, however it highlights the obvious few obstacles towards women's liberation.

Until the Hong Kong Government is more willing to promote this concept of equality even within the system and to amend the laws to advance the protection of women's rights, it would be very hard to persuade the community to follow suit.


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Simon Bigg, Chris Phillipson and Paul Kingston, Elder Abuse in Perspective, Open University Press (1995)
Colleen A. Ward, Attitudes Towards Rape, Sage Publications (1995)
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          Male to Female   No. of elected
Code Name of Functional Constituency Total Male Female ratio * Dominant Sex candidates
          (No. of male in the electorate * by sex
          per female)   Male Female
AF Agriculture and Fisheries 165 163 2 81.50 Male 1  
F Engineering 5,353 5,251 102 51.48 Male 1  
HYK Heung Yee Kuk 132 128 4 32.00 Male 1  
H Labour 409 369 40 9.23 Male 3  
Z Information Technology 3,147 2,803 344 8.15 Male 1  
TR Transport 137 122 15 8.13 Male 1  
L Real Estate and Construction 410 364 46 7.91 Male 1  
R Industrial (First) 730 647 83 7.80 Male 1  
UC Urban Council 50 44 6 7.33 Male 1  
RC Regional Council 50 44 6 7.33 Male 1  
S Industrial (Second) 553 482 71 6.79 Male 1  
T Finance 207 180 27 6.67 Male 1  
P Commercial (Second) 1,798 1,563 235 6.65 Male 1  
IN Insurance 196 169 27 6.26 Male 1  
N Commercial (First) 1,353 1,130 223 5.07 Male 1  
W Import and Export 1,182 981 201 4.88 Male 1  
U Financial Services 532 440 92 4.78 Male 1  
G Architectural, Surveying and Planning 3,218 2,653 565 4.70 Male 1  
Y Wholesale and Retail 2,216 1,817 399 4.55 Male   1
D Medical 6,789 5,460 1,329 4.11 Male 1  
X Textile and Garment 2,739 2,126 613 3.47 Male   1
V Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication 1,136 836 300 2.79 Male 1  
M Tourism 838 604 234 2.58 Male 1  
C Accountancy 9,902 6,521 3,381 1.93 Male 1  
B Legal 3,567 2,315 1,252 1.85 Male   1
A Education 61,290 23,901 37,389 0.64 Female 1  
K Social Welfare 3,398 1,099 2,299 0.48 Female 1  
E Health Services 27,487 6,154 21,333 0.29 Female 1  
  FC Total: 138,984 68,366 70,618 0.97 --- 27 3

* Note: A ratio of 1 indicates equal number of male and female. A ratio greater than 1 indicates the dominanance of male. A ratio less than 1 is female dominated.

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