Home » EXCLUSIVE; It’s Time to Redress Gender Disparity in Hong Kong’s Legal Departments

EXCLUSIVE; It’s Time to Redress Gender Disparity in Hong Kong’s Legal Departments

A women rights activist criticisez gender disparity in Hong-Kong

by Narges Mohammadi

HONG-KONG_China/Amita Haylock, Partner of Mayer Brown and Co-chair of the firm’s Women’s Network in Asia(Hong-Kong), shares exclusively with HRO the dos and don’ts for law firms and organizations in Hong-Kong.

‘Boys’ club’ culture; which involves men forming groups excluding women; therefore favoring men over women when it comes to promotions; and professional development opportunities; is prevalent in many industries, and the legal industry is no exception.

According to a joint survey by Mayer Brown and Women In Law Hong Kong (WILHK), women in Hong Kong’s legal sector are facing systemic gender biases that exist at all levels, from the most senior levels to those starting in the profession.

Among more than 360 surveyed women; and men who are currently working or have worked in Hong Kong’s legal sector; half of the female respondents; feel they have been treated differently to their disadvantage; as a result of their gender. Nearly a quarter (23.7%) of female respondents; had been told to change their law or career path specialty; five times more than male respondents.

Moreover, 38.2% of women have felt left out of career-building opportunities because of their gender or care responsibilities. In several cases; female respondents reported their commitment; or competence was questioned because of being a caregiver.

Hence, many women are choosing to leave the legal profession; resulting in a gender imbalance at senior levels of private practice and in-house teams.

Responses from women 

Some female respondents also reported that they are too often ignored; interrupted; or undermined in many workplace settings. Additionally, many women lawyers expressed their struggle to call out this behavior; without being seen as being difficult or not “part of the team”.

On the other hand, women continue to receive unsolicited comments about their appearance or behavior; with 26.1% of female respondents reporting negative experiences with receiving advice about the clothes they wear at work. Apart from comments on their appearance; many female lawyers received patronizing remarks about how they should behave; in case of being viewed as too aggressive and assertive.

Alarmingly, women who do advance up the career path have found they are subject to more; rather than fewer; incidents of micro-aggressive behavior; with 23.0% of female respondents in senior roles experiencing clients; directing questions or queries to a more junior male colleague instead of them.

For a country to have one of the world’s greatest economy it’s weird to see this sort of manners towards women. Our studies show that there are 3rd place countries that employ special forces for care-tasks in offices; and do not always leave it to women. One of those countries is Iran.

Source: www.humanresourcesonline.net

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