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LCQ16: Promoting women's development

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (April 18):

Question :

     The Women's Commission (WoC) is responsible for advising the Government on the strategic overview over women's issues and developing a long-term vision and strategy for such issues. In "Hong Kong Women's Development Goals" published by WoC in December last year, WoC pointed out that resources designated for women's development in society are still inadequate, making it difficult for WoC and women's groups to advance their work in this regard. Regarding the enhancement of efficiency in promoting women's development, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(a) whether WoC will follow the practices of the Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS and the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee in organising community forums, and introduce community forums on women's issues, so as to strengthen the efforts in meeting and conducting exchanges with women's groups, explain to women's groups about its work and understand the assistance they need; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) whether WoC will follow the practices of other committees of the Government (e.g. the Committee on the Promotion of Racial Harmony) in uploading meeting documents to the committees' web sites, and upload the attendance list, documents and minutes, etc. of each meeting of WoC to WoC's web site, so as to enable members of the public to monitor WoC's work and enhance the transparency of WoC's operation; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(c) whether the Government will allocate additional resources to assist in implementing the recommendations put forth in "Hong Kong Women's Development Goals"; if it will, of the details and the timetable;

(d) whether the Government regularly meets and conducts exchanges with representatives of WoC and women's groups to understand what assistance they need; if it has, of the details; and

(e) given that the report on "Women and Men in Hong Kong - Key Statistics" published annually by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) since 2001 draws together sex disaggregated statistics and indicators from a variety of sources with a view to painting a picture of the situation of women and men in major economic and social spheres, whether C&SD will consult more organisations (e.g. women's groups and the Equal Opportunities Commission, etc) before conducting the relevant surveys, and hold topical discussions with more organisations after the surveys and cooperate with WoC to step up the education and publicity work on the relevant areas and subjects?



     My reply to the question raised by the Hon Emily Lau is as follows:

(a) and (d) To enhance mutual understanding and foster a closer partnership, the Women's Commission (WoC) meets with local women's groups and relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on a regular basis to exchange views on issues of concern to women and on the work of WoC. In 2011-12, WoC held six exchange sessions and meetings with women's groups and relevant NGOs. Issues discussed included future development of WoC's Capacity Building Mileage Programme to encourage women to pursue life-long learning and self-development, support services to ethnic minority women, compilation of sex-disaggregated data, women's leadership training, survey findings on the status of women, and support for working mothers, etc.  Besides, meetings are held from time to time with individual women's groups and relevant organisations to discuss issues related to women.

(b) WoC holds regular meetings to discuss various women-related issues. It also invites, from time to time, representatives from bureaux and departments to attend the meetings so as to provide advice to them on women-related policies and initiatives from a gender perspective. It has been WoC's practice to upload the agendas of meetings as well as documents authorised by the relevant bureaux and departments for disclosure to WoC's website for public reference.

     As some of the issues discussed at WoC meetings are still at a preliminary discussion stage and information provided by relevant bureaux and departments is for internal discussion only, WoC is not in a position to upload the minutes of meetings and documents to its website. To further enhance the transparency of meetings, WoC will review the arrangements and consider uploading the minutes and relevant documents to its website after obtaining the consent from relevant bureaux and departments.

(c) The Women's Development Goals Report covers areas including women's participation in decision-making, health, safety, education, economics and system for development, which involve different bureaux, departments and other stakeholders. Subsequent to its publication in December 2011, the Report has been sent to the organisations concerned for consideration and follow-up as appropriate. WoC will maintain close liaison with these organisations and review the implementation of the recommendations in due course.

(e) "Women and Men in Hong Kong - Key Statistics" (the report) is an annual publication compiled by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) listing major sex-disaggregated statistics on different areas collated from administrative records and previously published results of surveys of different bureaux and departments. It provides objective data for reference.

     From time to time, C&SD briefs relevant organisations on the key statistics in the report through various channels, for instance, by taking part in forums, briefings, workshops and meetings organised by WoC, and different government and non-governmental organisations so as to promote application and research on gender statistics. C&SD also takes these opportunities to discuss with the participants subjects related to gender statistics and collect their views on arrangements related to the compilation and publication of the report such as its contents, source of data and classification in order to enrich the contents of the report to better cater for the needs of users.

     C&SD considers that the existing communication channels are effective and will continue to maintain close liaison with WoC as well as relevant government and non-governmental organisations. C&SD also welcomes views on the report from these organisations.

Ends/Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:45


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