Ethnic minority women in Hong Kong suffer double marginalisation due to suppression from both the mainstream society and within their own communities. Islam is one, if not the most, influential factor shaping views towards sexuality. Away from their home countries, Muslim girls in Hong Kong may start re-evaluating the idea of gender equality, yet they are always held back by deeply rooted perceptions handed down by their parents and community. Though local women groups and social service organisations have been trying to reach out to these girls, their efforts are rendered ineffective by language and cultural barriers. As interaction between ethnic minority and Han Chinese women remains scarce, Muslim girls are ever-hesitant to speak up under public stereotypes towards them as conservatives.
The team is first creating a safe space for minority young Muslim women to explore gender concepts together in a training programme, which has been designed together with some of the participating girls. They are then brought into direct dialogues with their parents and religious leaders, clearing myths and breaking down communication barriers. Via community outreach sessions, the team is also establishing connections between these Muslim girls and local women’s groups, empowering both sides to be more engaged in women’s rights advocacy.
The team has put together interview clips with Islamic leaders and religious scholars to stimulate further conversation and hopefully break stereotypes. They are also publishing sharing from Muslim girls on their living experiences as a minority in Hong Kong, and doubles as a channel for them to openly express their perception towards gender issues.
Minority Muslim girls are empowered to speak about gender issues and express their opinions on women’s rights, while parents gain understanding towards their daughters’ perceptions on gender, thus willingness to communicate. Local women’s groups and social service organisations have a clearer perspective towards minority girls’ situation, thus better design future programmes and offer solid support to these women.
– 20 minority Muslim girls
– 20 minority parents
– 40 staff in women’s groups and organisations
– 1000 general public
As a Muslim and an ethnic minority herself, Raees is deeply interested in research on gender equality, minority rights and inter-ethnic relations. She is an active human rights advocate and a Senior Minority Fellow at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Raees did her PhD at HKU.
Susanne is a renowned scholar who focuses on gender studies, migration, family, sexuality and social service work. She has published extensively on emerging and critical gender issues, including violence against women, sexual harassment and cross-border marriages. She leads the Anti-Sexual Harassment Working Group in the Equal Opportunities Commission. Susanne received her PhD from the University of Oxford.