Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC Survey Findings on Public Awareness on Equal Opportunities


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (Wednesday, 30 April 2008) announced the results of a public awareness survey on equal opportunity (EO) conducted during August to November 2007. The survey aimed at gauging public perception towards the concept of EO, perception of the EOC in promoting EO and the effectiveness of EOC’s services. A total of 1,502 households were interviewed by telephone in the “survey of the general public” and 153 EOC’s service recipients participated in the “user survey”.        
The Survey of the General Public
The survey revealed that when prompted 95% of the respondents had heard of the EOC. 72% of the respondents understood that the EOC was mainly involved in promoting EO in respect of gender, while 64% understood that the EOC was working towards eliminating discrimination on the ground of physical disability. Under no prompting, 49% were aware that the EOC was involved in promoting equal opportunities. It may be noteworthy that a significant proportion of the respondents considered age (62%) and race (46%) as EOC’s areas of work when in fact they were beyond the EOC’s ambit.
The survey found that 96% of the respondents personally considered EO were very important or quite important. On the other hand, 59% considered that Hong Kong people were concerned about EO. The reasons for their attaching importance to EO were mainly that it could ensure justice for individuals (77%), it would help promote Hong Kong’s image (58%), it would help individuals’ personal development (50%) and it was beneficial to Hong Kong’s economic development (49%).
In general, most respondents were positive on the performance of the EOC. About 73% of male respondents and 69% of female respondents had a positive view on the performance of the EOC, giving a score of 6 to 10 for the overall performance of the EOC in a Likert scale of 10. In fact, 35% of the respondents said that they were very supportive of the work of the EOC and 54% said that they were quite supportive. Only 2% indicated that they were not supportive. Respondents who had a better understanding of EO were more likely to support the work of the EOC.
Around two-third of the respondents (66%) of the general public survey indicated that they had come across EOC’s educational and publicity materials. The great majority (95%) learned about EO or the work of the EOC through TV and more than half learned through newspapers and magazines (66%) and radio (54%).
56% of the respondents, who had not encountered acts of discrimination, indicated that they would inform their family, friends or social workers about the incidents. About 40% revealed that they would lodge a complaint to the EOC. Only a minority of the respondents (10%) would not do anything.
The survey revealed that discrimination was experienced by 14% of the respondents. About 3% of the respondents indicated that they were frequently discriminated against or were treated unfairly on the grounds of sex, pregnancy, marital status, family status or disability, and 11% indicated that they occasionally encountered acts of discrimination. The nature of such acts of discrimination, from the perspectives of respondents was mainly age (accounting for 31% of respondents concerned), occupational status of the respondents (11%), sex (9%), pregnancy (8%), being an immigrant (7%), disability (7%) and family status (6%). Some of these grounds are not within the EOC’s remit.
Among those who had encountered discrimination, about 23% said that they had informed their family, friends or social workers about the incidents. About 3% indicated that they had lodged a complaint to the EOC. More than half of them (58%) did not do anything based on the reasons that they did not think it would help (35%), and they did not want to worsen the situation or ruin the relationship (31%).
Mr. TANG said, “It’s important that people’s right to raise a concern about discrimination is respected. As close to 80% of EOC’s complaints are employment related, we believe that complaints are better dealt with within the company. We encourage employers to take preventive action and follow the good management practices under the EO legislation so as to eliminate and deal with unlawful acts in their organizations.”
The User Survey
The user survey showed that EOC’s service recipients had good understanding of EO than the general public. Over 95% of the service users realized that “sending out erotic emails which are disgusting” and “making dirty jokes with colleagues that causes some of them feeling offended” could be a case of sexual harassment. Most of the respondents had an understanding of the broad definitions of disability under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO). A considerable number of respondents indicated that “cancer” (63%), “short-sightedness” (48%) and “sprain on heel” (42%) were included in the definition of disability. The service users also had a good understanding of the coverage of family status discrimination. 97% indicated that “a mother, single parent, looks after her 3 years old son” and (90%) “a staff looks after his/her mother who has kidney disease” are within the definition of family status.
The majority of EOC’s service users (84%) indicated that the EOC’s training courses, seminars or activities were very useful or useful. Their main reasons were that these programmes could enhance the understanding of EO (90%) and that they learnt more legal knowledge (72%).
In general the views of users were positive on the perceived performance of EOC. An index on the perceived performance of EOC was compiled from the survey data based on responses to three statements each expressing a positive view of EOC’s work. Based on a Likert scale of 10, with “1” denoting strongly disagree with the statement and “10” denoting strongly agree, the index on perceived performance of EOC was 6.89. The index was well above the mid-point value of 5.5 in a Likert scale of 10.
Mainstreaming Equal Opportunities
“Heightening public awareness and acceptance of equal opportunities values and its benefits is the most effective means of creating a more harmonious and fairer society. The EOC will continue to focus its efforts on mainstreaming the culture of equal opportunities in society. It is only when the principles of equal opportunities are assimilated into the system that we will see real progress,” said Mr. TANG.  
“To keep abreast with local concerns on key issues involving discrimination, we will liaise with relevant organizations regularly. Corporate partnership will be established with employers and other   institutions to provide the information they need to promote good management practices. With the launching of the “EO Club”, a network of one hundred & fifty organizations has been formed to facilitate their implementing EO policies in the workplace. The EOC will inform the public regularly through publications, TV, internet, and other media of its work and concepts of discrimination.” Mr. TANG elaborated.   
Following the findings of the EO Awareness Survey, the EOC will continue with its efforts through a series of projects in the coming year to promote EO:
  • ž TV Docu-drama Series on Equal Opportunities
  • ž Public Education Campaign on combating disability discrimination
  • ž Public Education Campaign on preventing pregnancy discrimination
  • ž Topical Seminars for the “EO Club”
  • ž Equal Opportunities Slogan Design Competition
In conclusion, Mr. TANG said, “The survey findings are significant for the EOC. It reveals that the community has confidence in our work as an agency to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities. We are committed to enhancing our services to the public and strengthening partnership with our stakeholders through open dialogues and effective communication. The EOC will continue to promote values that underpin equal opportunities, diversity, inclusion and respect for each other so that we can ensure fairness and social harmony for our community.”
For media enquiries, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.
Equal Opportunities Commission
30 April 2008