The EOC Announces Findings from The Equal Opportunities Awareness Survey 2015
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has released today (18 July 2016) the findings from the “Equal Opportunities Awareness Survey 2015”, which has been conducted periodically since 1998 to gauge the general public’s overall attitude and understanding on discrimination issues, as well as to assess the public’s perception on the Commission’s work and effectiveness. In total, 1,500 members of the general public (aged 15 or above) and 213 EOC service users were successfully enumerated via telephone interviews and self-administered questionnaire survey respectively in 2015.
The survey suggests that there was greater awareness of the EOC since the last survey in 2012, with 98% of the general public respondents able to identify the EOC as the organisation working towards equal opportunities in Hong Kong – an improvement from 95% in the last survey. Moreover, the general public views the EOC positively, with those who have used the EOC’s service showing greater familiarity of equal opportunity concepts as well as satisfaction with the EOC’s performance.
“As a statutory body that provides services to the public, the EOC places great importance on accountability to Hong Kong society,” said Prof. Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, the EOC Chairperson. “This survey allows the Commission to better comprehend our progress in advancing equal opportunities for all, so as to enable continuous improvement.”
Major Findings of the General Public Survey
The views of the public about the EOC and its work are overall positive. According to the survey, more than half (56%) of the general public respondents could name the EOC spontaneously, without prompting, as the organisation in Hong Kong working towards the promotion of equal opportunities. After prompting, this figure rises significantly to 98%, as compared to 95% in 2012 and 2007. Moreover, 82% of the general public respondents were aware of the EOC’s educational, promotional and publicity activities in the past 12 months, while 70% agreed that “the EOC has enhanced public understanding of equal opportunities and discrimination.”
Based on the responses to 12 statements on different aspects of equal opportunities, an overall index score was computed on a scale of 0 – 100, where 0 denotes low tendency of anti-discrimination attitude and 100 denotes high tendency. The index score of the general public was 62, which suggests that the public’s general anti-discrimination attitude was fairly positive.
When asked to evaluate the overall performance of the EOC (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 denoting “very good”), the average score obtained from the general public was 6.3, indicating that the public’s views on the EOC’s performance tended to be positive.
Major Findings of the EOC Service User Survey
The EOC service users responding to the survey indicated more positive views of the EOC, with a higher level of agreement than those from the general public. According to the survey, 92% agreed that “the EOC has enhanced public understanding of equal opportunities and discrimination”, and 86% felt that the EOC’s “promotion and education work is appropriately carried out.”
The survey findings also indicate that the EOC service users had better understanding on disability vilification, sexual harassment and the definition of family status, while relatively fewer gave correct answers on racial vilification and the definition of disability.
The index score of EOC’s service users was 77, which is relatively higher than that of the general public respondents (62), and indicated greater tendency towards having anti-discrimination attitude. Similarly, the average score obtained from service users on the overall performance of the EOC was higher than the general public at 7.1.
Advancing Equal Opportunities for All
“This survey’s findings are particularly useful to provide us an updated picture on the public’s understanding and acceptance of equal opportunity concepts and non-discriminatory behaviours. The information gives the EOC an evidence-based platform to keep up our advocacy and overall work as the Commission focuses its efforts on mainstreaming equal opportunity values into everyday life and policy-making in the next few years,” said Prof. Chan.
“Encouragingly, the survey revealed that those aged 15-29 were more likely to have non-discriminatory attitudes. As these young people become the next generation of leaders and decision-makers, such positive attitudes can be reflected into everyday practices. This is why the EOC’s mission to integrate equal opportunity values into daily life, starting from an early age, will increasingly be of relevance. For instance, the Commission plans to step up its work with the educational sector to make equal opportunities an integral part of the curriculum, for both the classroom and teacher training, in view of the importance of instilling the concepts of inclusion into children at a young age so as to foster an inclusive mindset that embraces diversity. The EOC will also consider new means to outreach to younger generations, such as the internet and social media channels, as well as other targeted platforms to outreach to other groups, including older respondents.”
According to the survey, 9% of the general public respondents claimed that they had experienced discrimination or harassment in the past year. Of these, the most common forms were age discrimination (43%) and sexual harassment (27%), with more than half of these incidents occurring in the work environment or during the job application process. “The EOC has undertaken a series of initiatives targeting discrimination in these areas, particularly in the employment setting. In January, to gain greater insights into this issue, the EOC released the Exploratory Study on Age Discrimination in Employment, which is the first study of its kind conducted by the Commission. It revealed that over one-third of employed respondents indicated they had experienced age discrimination in the last five years,” noted Prof. Chan. “Moreover, since 2013, the EOC has been strengthening its efforts to promote the importance of preventing sexual harassment in various sectors, including education, sports and services. We have been working with relevant stakeholders to enable them to articulate and enact anti-sexual harassment policies on their own and deal with complaints, by producing policy frameworks and other resources for public use. The Commission will continue to target our efforts on these important areas of work.”
“The survey also identified issues which were viewed by the public as priority areas, including promoting access to public premises by people with visual impairment who are accompanied by guide dogs and encouraging public venues operators to support breastfeeding. Indeed, the Commission has made relevant recommendations on both of these issues, which were named as priority areas for legislative action in the Discrimination Law Review. The EOC will continue to follow up on these proposals, and earnestly hope that the Government will take prompt action on our recommendations. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including the Government, schools and employers, to achieve our shared goal of equal opportunities for all.”
The report can be downloaded from the EOC website at: www.eoc.org.hk.
For media enquiries, please contact Mr. Sam HO (Tel: 2106-2187).
Equal Opportunities Commission
18 July 2016