Workplace descrimination is an unfortunate reality that some people encounter on a regular basis. It happens for various reasons ranging from differences in religion to physical disabilities, or even a person’s gender and family status.
Case in point, a recent study conducted by Equal Opportunities Commission has discovered that less than half of employers in Hong Kong want to hire women with children, regardless of their skills and experience.
It’s a disturbing trend that mothers in Hong Kong have to face.
According to South China Morning Post, 436 employers and 1,030 employees participated in the study which was conducted via “phone polls, focus groups, in-depth interviews and a survey of selected employers.”
When asked about their ideal job applicants, only 47.2% of 102 employers said they’d hire mothers with young children.
Chinese University associate professor and researcher Dai Haijing said about this:
“It means [this decision] is not related to the competence, commitment or potential of these women.”
“Mothers are the main victims of family status discrimination,” added Dai.
Meanwhile, Ferrick Chu Chung-man, director of policy, research and training for EOC, pointed out that around 40% of gender discrimination complaints they received are pregnancy-related.
“Family status discrimination is often interwoven with sex discrimination. If a woman chooses to become a mother, then it automatically means she chooses to suffer from the so-called motherhood penalty.”
Improvements definitely have to be made.
Dai said this dilemma could be solved if improvements are made for day care centers and after-school care programs. Besides, these services are more important for working moms than paid family leave and maternity leave.
“Most working mothers themselves don’t think paid family leave can really solve their problems, as it reinforces the stereotypes that mothers can’t focus on career development.”
But first, awareness about the problem has to be increased.
Besides, many in Hong Kong remain unaware about this type of descrimination.
“This is because this problem is less understood and less prevalent here, compared with discrimination related to race and gender.”
So when some mothers encounter the problem, they “find it unnecessary to report, or do not know how to appeal.”
“Some even think [discrimination] is understandable, that it is not a problem.”
He also added:
“The mindset that it is not a problem is precisely the problem.”
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