SCMP Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Survey undermines stereotype of career-obsessed HK woman


Hong Kong women are less career-minded than their counterparts in Shanghai and Taipei and more traditional in their views on sex and marriage, a survey on Chinese women's attitudes released yesterday found.
Sixty-one per cent of Hong Kong women ranked their careers as important or very important, compared with 66 per cent of Taipei women and 81 per cent of Shanghai women.
Ninety-three per cent of Hong Kong women said they objected to extramarital affairs, compared with 89 per cent and 83 per cent in Taipei and Shanghai respectively.
Asked what they would do with a spare hour, only seven per cent of Hong Kong women said they would make love with boyfriends or husbands, compared with 11 per cent in Taipei and 14 per cent in Shanghai.
A total of 500 women, aged 15 to 45, were questioned in each of the three cities by Reader's Digest . One of the project's leaders described the findings as "surprising" given the image of Hong Kong wives as strong-headed career women.
Victor Fung Keung, Reader's Digest Chinese edition editor-in-chief, said: "Hong Kong ladies are Westernised only on the surface. Deep down they still hold firmly to traditional Chinese values as they are very proud of being Chinese. And their respect for the institution of marriage and family is core to the Chinese culture."
Shanghai women were more sexually open due to China's reforms in the past decade, he said.
The mainland respondents placed a higher value on career due to both the Chinese Government's advocacy of gender equality in the workplace and comparatively lower income levels, he said, adding that Hong Kong women preferred spending less time in bed and more time on other forms of entertainment because they had wider social circles and choices.
Women in Taipei considered money more important than careers because many lacked security and depended on their husbands.