Gender mainstreaming childcare policy : barriers in a Confucian welfare society

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Journal / PublicationJournal of International and Comparative Social Policy
Issue number1
Online published20 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


This paper examines the extent to which the influence of Confucianism on the welfare ofwomen erects barriers to the gender mainstreaming (GM) of childcare policy in HongKong. GM is a global strategy adopted by the Beijing World Conference on Womenin 1995. Adopting a context-sensitive approach in understanding the translation of theinternational concept of GM in the policy formation and practice in Hong Kong, wefind that the Confucian welfare model has profound impact on women’s welfare andthe effectiveness of GM in Hong Kong. First, childcare support for the family is farfrom adequate due to the perception of childcare as the individual family’sresponsibility rather than as a citizen right. Second, the gender-neutral discoursecommonly accepted by the policy-makers in Hong Kong reflects the inadequategender-sensitivity training of government officials. Third, GM has been “watereddown” as a technical tool instead of transforming gender inequality in the society.

Research Area(s)

  • gender mainstreaming, childcare policy, Confucian welfare, Hong Kong