Hong Kong

Family 'still a priority' for career women

By Nicole Wong (HK Edition)
Updated: 2006-09-22 06:07
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Working women in Hong Kong still consider the family to be their top priority and maintain a good relationship with their spouses or partners despite their hectic schedule and increasing responsibilities.

These are the findings of a survey commissioned by the Hong Kong Women Professionals and Entrepreneurs' Association (WPEA). Conducted over the phone by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in July, the survey covered 409 (25-plus) women working in managerial, executive or professional positions.

Having a family is an important criterion for the women because an overwhelming majority (91 per cent) consider it a part of a successful life. Development of personal potential is next (78 per cent), followed by financial independence (76 per cent).

Contrary to popular belief, ranks and salary levels are lower on their agenda, for only 33 per cent take it to be defining elements of success.

"It shows how career women still see the family as the centre of their life, which defies certain presuppositions," WPEA President Caroline Mak said yesterday.

The success of these career women, depends to a great extent on their husbands' support, Mak said, because 92 per cent of the respondents see their husbands as "beloved partners". More over, the husbands of 89 per cent respect them for their work.

But the balance between family and working life remains a thorny issue. Though more than 40 per cent women would like to spend over half their time with their families, almost half of them (49 per cent) have to devote 70 to 100 per cent of their time at work.

The survey's findings echo the results of studies in other societies, Director of Chinese University of Hong Kong's Centre for Entrepreneurship Chua Bee-leng said.

Assistant Professor Lau Yuk-king in the university's Department of Social Work said that her studies also found many professional women work hard to maintain a close relationship with their husbands and families.

"Many of them have good communication with their husbands, or their partners are flexible in gender roles and undaunted by their wives' prospering prospects," Lau said. "It's not surprising that family is high on their agenda because many of these career women rely on family members for support such as child care."

(HK Edition 09/22/2006 page2)