Campaign aims to end workplace sexism in Hong Kong

Author: PM editorial | Date: 15 Mar 2017

Research finds that almost two-thirds of women feel subject to discrimination based on looks

A new campaign has been launched to tackle workplace sexism in Hong Kong – where almost two-thirds of women say they feel discriminated against based on their looks.
 
The Women’s Foundation has called the campaign #MyRealCareerLine, in reference to the local slang ‘career line’, which is sometimes used to refer to a woman’s cleavage.
 
As well as challenging the use of this phrase, a series of posters, online ads and short films also celebrate the talent and capabilities of Hong Kong’s women.
 
The campaign initially advertised a fake plastic surgery clinic called Career Line, but this was revealed as a stunt on International Women’s Day (8 March), when the advertising switched to #MyRealCareerLine.
 
“We needed to do something disruptive to get people to rethink the term,” Jocelyn Tse, head of strategic planning at advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT) Hong Kong told The Drum. “With the stunt plastic surgery firm, we took the notion behind the phrase to an extreme to show the absurdity of it, and to raise awareness of this sort of everyday, casual sexism that people have become almost numb to.”
 
Research carried out by JWT found that 40 per cent of women felt talked down to at work and 53 per cent felt they lacked the same professional opportunities as men. A survey by The Women’s Foundation also revealed that a quarter of men aged 31 to 49 believe a woman’s success is based on her physical appearance.
 
The campaign was well supported by prominent Hong Kongers, including Olympic swimmer Stephanie Au Hoi-shun and former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.
 
In one of the campaign’s videos, Chan said success was not based on looks. “[It depends on] your convictions, on your integrity, your honesty, empathy, compassion and ability. In other words, it does not depend on your curves or lack of curves,” she said.
 
Last year, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination laws needed to be reformed.
 
“There are multiple groups in society, including women, persons with disabilities, and ethnic minorities, who still cannot participate equally in everyday life and opportunities in this city,” said Dr York Chow, chair of the EOC. “This is why it is time for Hong Kong to take our anti-discrimination ordinances to the next level.”