“A Hundred Years of Good Deeds” sharing session reviewed women’s development in Hong Kong over the past century
Back to early 20th century, gender equality was unheard of and women were at the bottom of the society according to the Chinese patriarchal culture. Advocacy and hard work by our forerunners made women's movement possible, e.g. the abolishment of concubinage, female bondservants, no-school-for-girls, etc.
The Association prepared the publication of A Hundred Years of Good Deeds and A Hundred Years of Grace during the centennial celebration, and organised a sharing session last weekend to discuss Hong Kong women’s development and YWCA’s contribution over the past century.
As the author of A Hundred Years of Good Deeds, Dr. Wong Wai Yin Christina, Assistant Professor, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK expressed her profound interest in how YWCA served the local community with global vision. She took different light fellowships as an example and illustrated their interaction on topics like ecumenism and monogamy, despite the difference between their services and target audience. While responding to questions from the participants, Prof. Wong agreed that women have a higher status nowadays, yet there are still a lot of gender problems unsolved.
Dr. Wong Wai Ching Angela, Vice President for Programs, United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, and YWCA Director, mentioned that the World YWCA was founded under the influence of ecumenism, which emphasised unity, diversity, and serving people in need. In early 20th century, a group of Asian Christian women in Hong Kong who enjoyed certain social eminence strove for women’s rights and had gradually developed services which transcended nationalities, languages, denominations, ranks and occupations. Dr. Wong reminded women organisations to be proactive in understanding people’s needs, and build a platform where women can speak up and seek support.
Since the inception in 1920, Hong Kong YWCA has endeavoured to strive for women’s rights. Prof. Yip Hon Ming, Adjunct Professor (Honorary), Department of History, CUHK mentioned a few in her sharing, including the anti-Mui Tsai campaign in the 20s and 30s and the marriage reform afterwards, YWCA member entering committees in the government to bring changes within the institution, urging for the setup of a maintenance payment management board in collaboration with other organisations, etc. Prof. Yip referred YWCA as “a-hundred-year-old youngster” because despite the long history, there are still many possibilities for its future.
We were glad to have Ms. Julie Chan and Ms. Agnes Tso, YWCA Directors, Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of YWCA Movement Committee to deliver the welcoming speech and prayer respectively. Ms. Yvonne Yeung, the Association's Chief Executive further elaborated how the Association ensures local women's participation and global vision; and financial independence so that it runs a sustainable model, which are the prerequisites to its founding.
For those who would like to know more about the development of local women’s welfare and Hong Kong YWCA, A Hundred Years of Good Deeds and A Hundred Years of Grace might be a good starting point. You will enjoy more than 30% off at YWCA gift shop until May 31 (Tue). Get a copy now!