25 October 2016
Women workers deserve a show of appreciation for their contribution to society and the economy. Photo: HKEJ
Women workers deserve a show of appreciation for their contribution to society and the economy. Photo: HKEJ

How to make our female workers happy on Women’s Day

As we prepare to mark the International Women’s Day tomorrow (March 8), it’s a good time to reflect on our women workers and how we can show our appreciation for them.

Let’s look at China first.

The mainland, in a nice gesture, allows its female workers to have a half day off on Women’s Day.

With a half-day holiday, China stands between nations such as Russia, Cuba, Vietnam and Afghanistan which give a whole day off and another group of nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom which also honor the International Women’s Day but without a holiday.

Although China has the mandated holiday, I understand it isn’t followed strictly.

It’s only the progressive Chinese firms that give women a half day off or a small gift, or even both, on that day.

However, that is at least better than the situation in Hong Kong, where a special holiday is missing altogether. 

If we give the issue serious thought, a half-day holiday seems fair.

Although I don’t claim to speak for all men, I’m sure most of us appreciate the importance of women in the workplace.

Without women, it would be a dull (and perhaps much dirtier) environment. Women bring color and perspective to the workplace and improve our daily lives in many ways.

Then, there is their contribution to the overall economy — tangible as well as intangible. I doubt if any company can do without women in the current era.

An extra half-day off in recognition of their contribution seems a fair deal.

Some men might grumble about special treatment for the female colleagues, but I doubt if they would be jealous enough to file complaints with the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Come on, it’s only half day! Let’s give our women workers what they deserve.

Meanwhile, there is also a third reason to cheer the ladies up.

According to a recent survey, Hong Kong women are less happy now compared to a year ago.

The average mark in “Hong Kong women happiness index” was 6, down 0.4 point compared to a similar survey in 2015, according to the study commissioned by a local shopping mall ahead of International Women’s Day.   

Over 40 percent of the females interviewed indicated they were not happy.

More importantly, our women chose money over love. Over 40 percent of the respondents identified “wealth” rather than “love” as the most important factor that would ensure their happiness.

Well, this is not really surprising as ours is a society where money rules.

Marriage was identified as the third most important factor for a person’s well-being, after money and love.

The choices were in contrast to the survey last year, when women identified love, money and children as the most important factors — in that order.  

In the latest survey, a greater proportion of women indicated that they would be happier by staying single.

As many as 53.6 percent of the respondents said life would be better if they were single, compared to 50.7 percent who said marriage means happiness. 

So it is safe to suggest that providing short-term cheer for our women will be easier than offering long-term comfort.

Now, how about the extra half-day holiday?

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EJ Insight writer

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