Posted on 30/08/2017 by Marie Swarbreck
Meet Gregor Miller, Managing Consultant & Director at Visions Learning HK
Our interview with Greg:
Can you introduce yourself;
Gregor Miller – Entreprenneur, Leadership Expert, Executive Coach and Organisational Culture Provocateur!
What are you currently doing to improve gender balance in HK;
I currently run Female-Centric Mentoring Programmes in Hong Kong, promoting the value of women in the organisation, encouraging male dominated senior management teams to mentor more females in their career aspirations – programmes which have seen fantastic results.
I also moderate many panels in Hong Kong address equality issues and speak at many events promoting the benefits of quality, diversity and inclusion.
In many of the leadership programmes I design and deliver or the Executive Coaching contracts I undertake, the benefits of equality-diversity-inclusion are always prominent.
What is your opinion on gender equity in HK;
Gender Equality is still an issue in Hong Kong despite the Governments pledge to improve equality. I am always told that Hong Kong is a conservative society when the issue of Equality is discussed – and this unfortunately is the excuse used in lack of progress. In 2015, In median incomes, women were paid on average 2500 HKD less annually than men, and this means the pay gap had widened by 500 HKD since 2011. In the poorest workers, women are pulling in only 60% of men earn. Women account for just over half of the city’s poor, which amounted to 1.14 million people in June 2015.
Many think this is down to stereotyping in the HK Education system. In many children’s literature used in HK, the woman is a nurse and the man is a police officer. This reminds me of the ‘Ladybird Books’ that were used in my childhood in the 1970’s in the UK: where the girls were with Mother in the Kitchen and the boys were with Father mending the engine in the car in the garage. Even though the Millennial Generation is challenging these stereotypes to a large extent, the women challenging this traditional career mentality are currently working in strongly male dominated environments.
More needs to be done to highlight and develop awareness of gender bias and to encourage people to speak out against inequality. There are many positive developments in international organisations with the development of more gender-sensitive working policies, but these need to be more prolific. More employment protection for those who take on casual or contract work is needed in Hong Kong for women to escape the poverty cycle as many do not receive the protection of rest days, sick days and maternity leave, despite the complications of putting the legislation into practice. And the challenge needs to be addressed in the HK Education System. The need is urgent! The longer we drag out feet on this issue using “but we are a conservative society”, we will no doubt leave a 2nd or 3rd Tier City behind for our children to inherit in comparison with other prominent international cities.
And if you consider higher paying salaries for international and local talent, according to the Women’s Foundation, the economic contribution of women is still less valued even in high paying professions. Women make 20% less than men, while only 10.9% of listed companies have female directors.
Nordic countries are held up as glowing examples of what can be done when the governmental policy and associated infrastructure supports gender equality. Even though this takes years to develop, HK needs to modernize its approach and challenge the status quo rather than protect it!
What are some key challenges you are facing (or in general);
In many organisations I work with I find gender discrimination, in the language, behaviour, attitudes, lack of female representation in senior management and prevailing disparity in terms of worker policies and leadership practices.
However, there are always examples of challenges being overcome, and leaders in the organisation changing the status quo. The most inspiring of which is the Millennial Generation bringing balance in terms of their perspective, values and principle.