Common struggles women have but don’t talk about

TEDxTinHauWomen conducted an internal survey around common struggles that women face.  By sharing our personal experiences alongside these results we hope to shed some light on these otherwise private struggles – and suggest what we can do to change it.

Let’s talk about the elephants in the room. Yes, you read that correctly – elephants, plural. As women, we share common struggles that are rarely spoken about openly due to fear, shame, and/or embarrassment.  TEDxTinHauWomen conducted a survey with their internal planning committee to shed some light on these otherwise private struggles.  Results from an internal survey the TEDxTinHauWomen committee completed showed:

  • Nearly 72%* of women have experienced being called bossy or bitchy by a male for simply being assertive (i.e. speaking up).
  • 50%* of women are concerned about re-entering the workforce after having a family or career break
  • Nearly 79%* of women were asked to do something simply because they are female such as being asked to be in front of men to ‘lure’ them in or close deals.

My personal experiences are inline with these struggles. My very first part-time job was at a fast food chain. It was an incredible way to learn about the efficiencies of this successful brand and the operations behind it. I was asked to be a cashier simply because I was female. But I wanted to work in the back kitchen because I loved to work quickly. It was like a game to me, to push out correct orders as fast and efficient as possible. I was told no, “girls should be at the front because they are more attractive to people.” I was 14 years old at the time, and shocked to hear this reasoning.

Relatedly, according to research conducted by The Women’s Foundation, the gender pay gap in Hong Kong is 22% which is worse than it was 10 years ago. We often think that if we work hard enough, the hard work will pay off in remuneration. Unfortunately Hong Kong pay gap data suggests this is not always the case.

How can we eliminate these struggles? One step is to discuss these issues more openly. Don’t have the right people around to discuss it? Surround yourself with others. Join a community, such as TEDxTinHauWomen. We are aiming to cultivate both women and men to create a stronger and more inclusive community, where we can share our stories and inspire others

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Written by: Camille Or on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen

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Author: TEDxTinHauWomen

TEDxTinHauWomen is the only annual TEDx event dedicated to women in Hong Kong.

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