Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 10:
Social Welfare
Major Achievements
Social Welfare Programmes
Clinical Psychological Services
Voluntary Work
Subventions and Service Monitoring
Information Technology
Enhancing Social Capital: Community Investment and Inclusion Fund
Women's Commission
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Women's Commission

The Women's Commission was set up on January 15, 2001, to promote the well-being and interests of women in Hong Kong. The commission identifies women's needs and addresses their concerns in a holistic and systematic manner. It has a long-term vision and strategy for the development and advancement of women in Hong Kong. The commission advises the Government on policies concerning women and seeks to ensure that their perspectives are taken into account when formulating policies.

The commission comprises 22 members including the chairperson who is a non-official member. Its quest is 'to enable women in Hong Kong to fully realise their due status, rights and opportunities in all aspects of life'. In line with this goal, the commission has adopted a three-pronged strategy: creating an enabling environment, empowering women and promoting public education. It also performs three strategic functions in championing women's causes: inspire and act as a catalyst to speed up changes, and mobilise community resources.

The commission has secured the Government's agreement to gradually introduce gender mainstreaming in different policy areas to create an enabling environment. A Gender Mainstreaming Checklist was drawn up in 2002 to facilitate officers to take women's needs and perspectives into account in the formulation of government policies. This checklist has been used in 19 policies or programmes. Plans are being made to extend the checklist to cover more policy areas. Since 2001, gender-related training has been provided to over 1 500 civil servants of different grades. All bureaux and departments now have Gender Focal Points through which matters concerning women's interest and status can be channelled.

As for the empowerment of women, the Women's Commission aims to better equip women for life's challenges and to create an enabling environment for them to develop. The commission has reviewed and suggested improvements to a number of services for women to ensure their appropriateness, adequacy and quality. It promotes development of new service models and good empowerment practices. To enhance women's participation in advisory and statutory bodies (ASBs), the commission has obtained the Government's agreement to take gender composition into account in making appointments to these bodies. An initial benchmark has been set for appointments to ASBs to comprise at least 25 per cent of women. The introduction in March 2004 of an innovative and flexible learning mode, called the Capacity Building Mileage Programme, was a major step towards helping women develop to their full potential. The programme seeks to enhance women's all-round abilities and promote life skills. The programme is carried out on a three-year trial basis in collaboration with the Open University of Hong Kong, a radio station and more than 70 women's groups and NGOs, with funding support from the Lotteries Fund. Since the launch of the programme, 27 radio courses and nine classroom courses have been developed. More than 14 200 women had enrolled in the programme by the end of 2006, a figure that does not include the large audience reached through the radio programmes.

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