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Speech by CE at Women's Commission International Women's Day 2017 reception

Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the Women's Commission International Women's Day 2017 reception this evening (March 8):

Let me repeat in English the key points I just made.

Three weeks ago, I officiated at the Women's Commission Conference. In my speech, I said that women can, and indeed do, hold up half the sky, so to speak. Certainly in Hong Kong. Countless women devote themselves to the full range of careers and serving the community, holding their families together all the while.

The International Women's Day is dedicated to celebrate the achievements of women. To pay tribute, and to remind us all that much remains to be done.

The Government has not lost sight of our goals. Over the years, we have worked closely with the Women's Commission and various women's groups to better protect women's rights, support working women, and encourage them to participate in public services.

In the 2015 Policy Address, I accepted the Women's Commission's recommendation to require all policy bureaux and departments to apply gender mainstreaming when formulating major government policies and initiatives. I also asked the bureaux and departments to progressively increase the ratio for appointing women to government advisory and statutory bodies from 30 to 35 per cent.

I am glad to see that the society, as a whole, has increasingly embraced gender mainstreaming. Last year, non-governmental organisations in the social welfare sector started a pilot scheme to apply gender mainstreaming, and to make reference to the Gender Mainstreaming Checklist when formulating policies and programmes. A Gender Focal Point Network was launched among listed companies to raise awareness of gender-related issues in the business community.

Last Monday, the Census and Statistics Department released the results of the 2016 Population By-census. They revealed an accelerated pace of ageing over the past decade. We need to step up our efforts in tackling the challenges of an ageing population, including unleashing the potential of the local labour force, and fostering a supportive environment to form a family.

The Government has put in place paternity leave, a free quality kindergarten education policy, and we have worked hard to increase land supply for housing. Working women are now better supported: we have increased the number of places for child care services, and promoted family-friendly employment practices. I look forward to hearing from the Women's Commission and other friends - on how we can better support women, and how we can better support a sustainable population. So that we can stay competitive, and drive the city's development forward.

Before I close, may I thank the Women's Commission and all of you for the hard work in promoting women's development and women's welfare. I wish you all good health and abundant happiness.

Thank you.


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