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Employment of Women in Chinese Cultures

Half the Sky

Edited by Cherlyn Skromme Granrose

Examining the employment lives of Chinese women living under different government systems at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the contributors to this volume present an overview of factors affecting the employment status of women. The volume includes chapters on the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – nations that have common Chinese cultural experiences but very different economic systems and government structures.
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Chapter 5: The Impact of Government Policy on Working Women in Hong Kong

Irene Hau-Siu Chow


Irene Hau-Siu Chow Hong Kong women compared favorably in employment with their counterparts in other Chinese societies. In Hong Kong, a modern capitalist economy, there is no doubt that the social status of women has improved significantly in recent times. Individualism, achievement orientation and equality of opportunity have led to reduced inequality between men and women. In a large cross-cultural research project, Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE), headed by House, Hong Kong ranked number one in gender egalitarianism and third in performance orientation among the 61 countries surveyed (House et al., 1999). Hong Kong represents an interesting case to examine the topic of the impact of government on women. On the one hand, experience as a British colony with rapid economic development in the past few decades has generated many employment opportunities for women. On the other hand, being a Chinese society recently returned to People’s Republic of China (PRC) control, Hong Kong has been characterized by a marked sexual division of labor both inside and outside the family (Ngo, 1992). A powerful traditional Chinese culture, stereotypical socialization practices, together with a history of women’s oppression, subjugation and subordination, provide interesting cultural components that affect the status of women in Hong Kong. This economic and cultural combination raises many of the issues this volume seeks to address. GENERAL GEOGRAPHIC, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL BACKGROUND Hong Kong (HK) is composed of about 1070 sq km, of land surrounding the mouth of the Pearl River, including one major...

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