EOC Calls for an Accountable Women's Commission
In view of the Legislative Council's debate on the Women's Commission to be held Wednesday 31 May, Ms. Anna WU, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has stated in a letter to all Legco members the importance of accountability of the Women's Commission.
"If the Government insists on placing the Commission within the Health and Welfare Bureau, the EOC recommends that the Secretary of Health and Welfare, who serves as Vice-Chairman of the Commission, be accountable and carry a concurrent title of Secretary for Women's Affairs", said Anna WU. She pointed out, that to be effective the Women's Commission has to rise above health and welfare concerns. "While the EOC supports the establishment of a Women's Commission, for such a Commission to be successful, it is important that it be at a high enough level for gender mainstreaming into all Government policies." This is also why the EOC recommended the creation of the title of Secretary for Women's Affairs as it will require a policy Secretary to take effective and executive responsibility within Government for the (gender) policy.
The EOC recommended that the Commission issue annual reports to the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary for Administration and to the Legislative Council. The EOC welcomes all efforts and measures proposed by legislators, to elevate the authority and scope of the Women's Commission.
The Government has given the Women's Commission the responsibility of implementing its commitments under the Convention to eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform. In that case, the terms of reference should include the following :
Objective : To meet the Government's commitments under CEDAW and the Beijing Platform :
To develop implementation plans for the Government's commitments under CEDAW and the Beijing Platform.
To ensure gender mainstreaming into all government laws and policies.
To formulate policies on women.
To direct funding into areas based on these policies.
To address women's problems.
To compile gender statistics and analyses and engage in research on women's affairs.
To act as clearing house on training programs for women.
To conduct public education programmes.
"Central mechanisms for the advancement of women have been on the international agenda for at least 25 years. There has been a development of strategic thinking about moving their focus from addressing women-specific issues to 'gender mainstreaming' that is the analysis of how government policies impact men and women. We hope that the Women's Commission will meet up to the international standard", said Ms. WU.
Enquiry: EOC Hotline 25118211