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Sunday, Oct 01, 2023

70pc of grassroots women still jobless following pandemic

70pc of grassroots women still jobless following pandemic

The government should enhance the after-school care service to allow more women to work, said Society for Community Organization, as its survey found 70 percent of grassroots women are still unable to find a job post-pandemic.
The organizations surveyed 208 grassroots women between May 3 and May 10 this year, more than 90 percent of whom said they could not work because they needed to take care of their children.

They were only able to apply for part-time jobs, which offer poor pay, unstable working hours and less protection toward labor benefits.

The survey found that the weekly median working hours of 47.7 percent of working women were 30 hours, which was much lower than the 44 hours for overall women; and their median monthly income of HK$8,250 was nearly half of that of the average Hong Kong woman's HK$15,600.

The organization also found that 96 percent of the respondents intended to rejoin the labor market after the pandemic, but more than 70 percent remain unemployed.

Nine in 10 of them worry being unemployed might lead to a reduction in household income and increase the financial burden, while more than half said it caused depression.

Ninety percent of the women who want to rejoin the work force hoped to improve their family livelihood, and 81 percent expect to earn money in order to send their children to extracurricular activities.

An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed to enhance after-school care services in schools as their children would be familiar with the environment. They agreed that there would be enough space for activities, and that it would give parents the opportunity to work.

The society is raising 10 suggestions to enhance the after-school care pilot scheme and hoped the scheme can be made compulsory for all schools in the city.

Suggestions included extending the schools' opening hours to 7 pm, to provide parents with more flexibility when finding jobs, and extending the target students to kindergarten students and those in junior secondary.

It also suggested pick-up services should be offered by school staff or parent volunteers to send the students back home after school.

"The authorities should further consider utilizing school campuses in different districts, and open these campuses for a series of interest courses or self-study rooms, to benefit more students from the grass-root," the society said.

It added the authorities should consider setting up long-term policies for child care-takers, providing them with support in terms of financial and care services.
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