Assignment Cover Sheet
Women and work
Course:Understanding Society Tutorial
Course Code:CGE 25401
Tutorial Group:TC5 (Monday)
Tutor:Mr. Raymond Tam
Student Name:Cheung Ting Sum
Submission Date:November 19, 2012
I have read the section on Plagiarism in the Course Outline and the University Handbook (also available online) and declare that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, this assignment is my own work, all sources have been acknowledged and the assignment contains no plagiarism. I further declare that I have NOT previously submitted this work or any version / part of it for assessment in any other unit offered by CCCU or City University or any other education institution in HK or overseas. If a clear case of plagiarism is found, an “F” grade will be given for this piece of work.
Since World War II, there had been a large increase in the presence of women in the workforce. Undoubting, Women has been a significant factor for Hong Kong prosperousness as well. Now, we are going to discuss the situation of women work at Hong Kong. Is sex stereotyping and gender stratification really applied in Hong Kong society? And how these phenomenon affect people’s perception on certain occupation considered as being suitable for women and it’s social impact affect Hong Kong society? We would also look at the obstacle faced by Hong Kong women in the workplace.
Women work at Hong Kong Nowadays
During the past 15 years, more Hong Kong women tend to work. Form the figure of the population of women in the labour force aged 15 or over has increased form 986000 in 1986 to 1740400 in 2011 (Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong, 2011, p.114). Also looking at the figure of Hong Kong Economic activity status and sex in 2011, there are 57% of women are in the labour force while there are only 19% of women are home-maker. These figures show the change in women society, they rather to work outside than being a home-maker at home
Sex stereotyping in Hong Kong
Sex stereotyping is considered as “structure sets of beliefs about the personal attributes of women and men”(Susan, 1992). Sex stereotyping categorizes people to different group by sex. Therefore, some activities are considered ‘male’ and some are ‘female’. In Hong Kong, the percentage distribution of employed persons engaged in individual industries by sex in 2011 (Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong, 2011, p.137), women domain the industries of public, social and personal services with 69.1%. These jobs mainly provide services, required high brainpower and organization skill but less manual labour. Moreover, like secretary and waitress, they have a stable workplace with stable working hour. These jobs seem match the trait of women in most of the people’s eyes and they are considered as “women jobs”.
On the other hand, from the statistics, the industry women employed less is the construction, with only 8.5%. For example construction workers, they required high manpower and physical strength. Unlike service work, they always have to work outside in a unstable workplace with unstable working hour. People have a perception that man is stronger than women. These types of jobs should belong to men and they are labeled as “men jobs”.
Gender stratification in Hong Kong
By definition, gender stratification is the difference in poverty, power and prestige between men and women (Linda & Stephen, 2003). The gender stratification influences the job opportunities and obstacles we faced. Looking at the figure of Hong Kong employed persons by monthly employment earning and sex. In 2011, the median monthly employment earnings of female employed person were $9300, while that of a male was $13,000. We can see there is a sex inequality in income distribution.
Obstacle women faced in workplace
Although nowadays there are a huge number of women tend to work outside, they still face some obstacle due to sexual factor and gender stratification. First, pregnancy discrimination, in Hong Kong, it is still common to see that some companies are not required to provide paid maternity leave and women face a financial disadvantage and they have to the career on hold.
Second, leadership role, in Hong Kong, men are the dominant role of the society. Women lack of opportunities because of sex stereotyping. In United stated, only 38% of businesses are owned and run by women.
Third, sexual harassment, some women are still facing sexual harassment nowadays. 27% of society thought that sexual harassment against female employees was common in the workplace (Women commission, Hong Kong, p.8) However, women often fail to reveal their situation or aren’t able to provide sufficient proof.
Fourth, glass ceiling, which means the hidden obstacles for women to be promoted to senior positions. Over 70% of people considered that men usually stood a better chance of promotion than women of similar age (70.7%) or with similar abilities (71.7%), glass ceiling is the consequence of gender stratification, resulting in the income distribution among women.
Now we are going to discuss how the tendency toward women working influences the Hong Kong society. First, modern female tend to focus on the career, as a result, they prefer to have late marriage. In 1981, the median age of first marriage of women in Hong Kong was 23.9, but in 2011, it was 29.8.
Furthermore, due to the late marriage of Hong Kong women, median age of women at first childbirth also increase from 25.1 in 1981 to 30 in 2011. It is one of the cause that aggravate the problem of population ageing.
According to the figure of the 2006 population statistics from the Census and statistics department, the elderly population of Hong Kong is on the upward trend. The percentage of total population age 65 and over will increase from 12% in 2006 to 26% in 2036.
Moreover, because of the ageing population, government would receive lower tax revenue and there are more elderly people claiming benefits. Society may face shortage of workers. Wanting to make both ends meet, government may also increase the tax rate of workforce.
First and last, Hong Kong women do not stay at home anymore, they work outside in a increasing tendency. Looking at the percentage distribution of employed persons engaged in individual industries by sex, we can see sex stereotyping exist in Hong Kong. According to the income distribution, we know that the gender stratification is still bothering the women.
Caused by the sex stereotyping and gender stratification, some problem emerged. For person, there are some obstacles women faces in workplace: pregnancy discrimination, lack of leadership, sexual harassment and glass ceiling. For society, it leads to late marriage and late childbirth, and the ageing population comes up then. Moreover, it also resulting in lower tax revenue, insufficient social benefit, shortage of workers and higher tax rate.
Craig, M., Vincent, Y. Y. & Russel, S. (2002). Stereotypes as Explanations. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
Charlotte, G. O. and Larry, S. C. (1986). Women and men in society (2nd). California. The Image Bank West.
Michael, I. and Toni, S., S. (2012) Stereotype Threat: Theory, Process and Application. New York. Oxford University Press
The Economist (2011). The flight from marriage. Retrieve from http:// http://www.economist.com/node/21526329
New York Times (2011) Women still face barriers in Hong Kong http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/asia/22iht-women22.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Linda L. L. and Stephen B. (2003). Essentials of Sociology. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall
Census and statistics Department (2011). The Women and Men in Hong Kong key Statistics (2012 edition). Hong Kong: Government HKSAR
Women Commission (2011). What do Women and Men in Hong Kong Think about the Status of Women at home, Work and in Social environments?. Hong Kong: Women Commission.
Census and statistics Department (2006). The Hong Kong Resident Population. Hong Kong: Government HKSAR
Declaration on Academic Honesty
I declare that the assignment here submitted is my own work and does not breach the CCCU’s guidelines on avoiding plagiarism. I also acknowledge that any act of academic dishonesty which jeopardizes the integrity of the learning and assessment process may be charged and be liable to disciplinary.
CGE 25401 Understanding Society
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