A survey of over 11,500 women in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan has found that female Hong Kongers “face greater pressures and are more pessimistic than those in Taiwan or on the mainland”.
Starcom MediaVest, which carried out the research, split the respondents into a number of broad categories.
- Retirees and grandmothers
- In mainland China these women often raise their grandchildren while the parents are working in another city
- Taiwanese grandparents are internet savvy and connect with their children via social media
- Hong Kong women are more disenfranchised, feeling isolated from their own children and grandchildren
- As in the west, Hong Kong millennials are often unfairly accused of being lazy and lacking initiative
- Hong Kongers struggle to break through the glass ceiling to senior positions
- On the mainland, Chinese women feel “that there is no glass ceiling and they can go as high as they want”
- Mainlanders are more entrepreneurial than their counterparts in Hong Kong and Taiwan
- One of the forms this entrepreneurial spirit takes is to become a “career mistress”, a popular option among young “go-getters”
- Less young mainlanders are seduced by the glitz and glamour of Shanghai or Beijing, “the consensus is that maybe tier one isn’t for everyone”
- In Taiwan, young women are less aggressive in achieving their goals
- Many Taiwanese are “comfortable to either stop work altogether or drop down a level in order to start a family”
- Men in Taiwan are taking on some “traditional” female roles, such as cooking and grocery shopping
- Taiwanese women “are content about taking one or two years off when they have children” unlike their counterparts in Hong Kong or on the mainland
- Hong Kong’s career mothers are nevertheless “desperate for love from their children” and disappointed when they don’t receive it, many older mothers feel neglected by their offspring
- In China, children often develop close relationships with grandparents, this can sometimes cause mothers to resent their own parents
Of all those surveyed, women in Taiwan were the most balanced and happiest. Attitudes do seem to be shifting in Hong Kong however, as young women “are not being programmed to be the career-minded girls in the way today’s career women were.”
“It’s a big societal change that Hong Kong has to go through and what doesn’t make it easier is knowing that across the border are these generations of ambitious, driven women and this competitive spirit,” says Joanna von Felkerzam, Starcom MediaVest’s director of research and insights for Asia Pacific.
[Image credit: @cyalex]