More than 60 percent of Hong Kong women felt that they encountered some discrimination in the workplace because of their physical appearance, a survey has shown.
According to an online poll conducted by The Women’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that strives to improve the lives of women, casual sexism in the workplace is a worry for many female employees in the city.
In the poll, which took in the responses of over a thousand people, 62 percent of the females said they have been discriminated against based on their looks.
Over 42 percent said they found the phrase “Career Line” offensive as the term in Cantonese is often used by men to suggest that a woman’s career progression depends on her cleavage.
Meanwhile, in every five men aged 22 to 33, one person believed that it was advantageous for women to be dressed sexy at work.
Women’s Foundation released the findings of its survey as the world marked the International Women’s Day on Wednesday.
Rita Ching Pui-yuk, an official with the women’s welfare group, said the results show that sexual discrimination is routine in Hong Kong workplaces, and that “career line” labels have focused on women’s body features to attack and criticize them, Apple Daily reports.
Objectifying women and downplaying their efforts makes sexism worse in the workplace, she said, warning people against making casual remarks that are demeaning to women.
Aiming to tackle casual workplace sexism and spread awareness against the use of derogatory phrases, the Women’s Foundation has launched a campaign titled #MyRealCareerLine.
Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said the agency will cooperate fully with various organizations in order to create a safe and non-discriminating work environment.
Olympic swimmer Stephanie Au Hoi-shun has endorsed the #MyRealCareerLine campaign, revealing that she has faced many sexist remarks after being chosen as the flag-bearer at the Rio Olympics.
Many people were focused on her appearance, while ignoring the efforts that she had put in to earn the distinction, Au said.
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