Evaluating the Effectiveness of Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women in Hong Kong
Project Title(Chinese) :
Principal Investigator(English) :
Prof Barrow, Amy Elizabeth
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :
Faculty of Law
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
E-mail Address :
Co - Investigator(s) :
Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area :
Exercise Year :
2014 / 15
Fund Approved :
Project Status :
Completion Date :
Project Objectives :
To consider how the performance and effectiveness of Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women can be effectively measured, drawing on comparative analysis of other jurisdictions, principally Australia and Taiwan, as well as guidelines from the International Council on Human Rights Policy and the United Nations.
To examine the role of the EOC including its relationship with anti-discrimination legislation, the Basic Law and human rights.
To examine the role of the WoC including its role in implementing CEDAW and Gender Mainstreaming.
To identify, map, track and evaluate specific strategies used by the EOC and the WoC to advance the status of women, principally gender mainstreaming and gender responsive budgeting.
To identify and undertake qualitative research with relevant stakeholders including policymakers, women’s organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and service users.
To generate both quantitative and qualitative data to begin the process of devising appropriate indicators to measure the effectiveness of the EOC and the WoC’s performance, taking account of each body’s respective governance structure, jurisdiction and framework of responsibilities.
To use the data generated through socio-legal research on institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women in Hong Kong to inform academic and policy debates within Asia-Pacific region and internationally by presenting research outcomes at local, regional and international conferences and publishing findings in academic journals.
Abstract as per original application (English/Chinese):
The principal aim of the research is to assess the effectiveness of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women in Hong Kong, namely the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), a statutory body created in 1996 under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and the Women’s Commission (WoC), an advisory body formed subsequently in 2001, with responsibility for advising the government on its obligations under CEDAW and in relation to gender equality more broadly.
Prior to the enactment of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (BORO) no institutional mechanisms existed to advance the status of women. The enactment of BORO in 1991 helped to contextualize the local application of international human rights norms, particularly during the Female Inheritance Movement of 1994. In 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA 1995) signaled the importance of institutional mechanisms, as a means to advance the status of women. Strategic objective H of the BPFA specified that institutional mechanisms should act as a catalyst to drive gender into legislation, public policy and programmes. While there has been widespread adoption of national machineries by Member States, the form and effectiveness of institutional mechanisms has varied.
In October 1996, CEDAW was extended to Hong Kong by the British Colonial Government, which strengthened the impetus to create institutional mechanisms to advance the status of women. The EOC plays a central role in implementing anti-discrimination legislation, while the WoC has supported the development of policy initiatives including gender mainstreaming. To date, there has been little evaluation of the effectiveness of the EOC and the WoC. Where research exists, it has tended to focus on the functions of both institutions with analysis of EOC statistics on complaint investigation and conciliation and legal assistance as a way to evaluate the EOC’s role. There has been no evident attempt to develop appropriate benchmarks and indicators to analyse and measure the effectiveness of these institutions.
Both the EOC and WoC have now been in existence for more than a decade. This research adopts a socio-legal approach using empirical research methods to capture multiple stakeholders’ perspectives on the role of the EOC and WoC in driving gender into legislation, policy and programmes. A central aim of this research project is to map, track and evaluate specific strategies to advance the status of women. The project aims to support the development of benchmarks and indicators to measure the EOC and WoC’s performance over time.