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Monday, March 27, 2017, 11:03

Lam ‘role model for women’

By Willa Wu in Hong Kong

Female leaders in politics, business and society welcome milestone win

Lam ‘role model for women’
Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (center), her husband Lam Siu-por (left) and son Jeremy, celebrate her election victory on Sunday. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong’s first female Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor vowed on Sunday to lead as an example for women in the city. In her new position, Lam said she would encourage more women to engage in social a  airs and contribute to a better Hong Kong.

“I believe a comprehensive and stable development calls for gender equality. I hope more women are willing to step out, not only to serve for public office, but also to engage in politics,” Lam said.

She made the remarks after a sweeping win in the city’s Chief Executive election, taking 777 votes — more than two-thirds of the valid votes cast.

I hope more women are willing to step out, not only to serve for public office, but also to engage in politics

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive-elect

Influential women figures at home and abroad have endorsed her success, describing her victory as a meaningful pat on the back of women in the city.

Hong Kong has 3.94 million women and 3.37 million men. But the labor-force participation rate of women, at 55.3 percent, is 13 percentage points lower than that of men, according to data by the Census and Statistics Department.

READ MORE: Lam: HK needs action, not rhetoric

Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, legislator and member of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, said the city would benefit from having the first female CE as Lam — who is also a wife and mother — would bring her first hand experience in dealing with elderly and younger generations to the policymaking process, making relevant measures close to those in need.

Leung, who has worked with Lam in the Legislative Council meetings, said the CE-elect was a “direct and sincere” person; such characters were considered most important in executive legislature relations.

Noting Lam’s victory was an “expected result”, Leung said most of the Election Committee members are mature in politics, preferring to choose a candidate who could implement sound policies from the previous government in a stable and continuous manner.

Hong Kong’s sole National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee member and former LegCo president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai echoed Leung. She said she voted for Lam as a “responsive, committed and responsible” candidate.

Fan stressed that when facing criticism from the opposition camp, Lam remained sincere and willing to communicate; she believed Lam could lead Hong Kong through difficult times.

Another prominent local woman leader — Starry Lee Wai-king, legislator and chairwoman of Hong Kong’s biggest political party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong — said Lam’s vote tally of 777 proved she secured extensive support from various sectors in the city.

READ MORE: DAB, FTU throw weight behind Lam

Lee said being a woman, she was touched by Lam’s commitment to society; this deserved respect from Hong Kong people.

Lam was also hailed by Hong Kong’s woman business leaders. Businesswoman and NPC deputy Pauline Ngan Po-ling said Lam’s victory served as “a great booster” to Hong Kong women, as Lam proved to them that “hard work and devotion would finally pay back”.

Drawing on her experience from working in both business and political sectors, Ngan said the tenderness and toughness that women possessed could better heal the rifts existing in society, preventing the city from becoming more polarized.

Ngan, who is also the managing director of Mainland Headwear — the largest headwear manufacturer in Guangdong, called for the public to unite and offer their full support to Lam and her new government. “Only in that way could Hong Kong prosper,” Ngan said.

Ngan had nominated Lam and voted for her.

Female leaders from social organizations overseas and locally also expressed compliments. Judith Mackay, senior policy adviser to the World Health Organization, said she was delighted to learn Lam would be the city’s next CE, adding Lam’s being elected served as an “inevitable and good” role model for Hong Kong women.

“Lam is a good and decent person, eminently suited and suitable for the job. Her womanly characteristics, like being attentive, would surely help to address the need of community, especially among the young and elderly,” Mackay said.

Connie Wong Wai-ching, vice president of the All-China Women’s Federation Hong Kong Delegates Association, attributed Lam’s success to her boldness in facing difficulties and harsh comments, as well as her competence shown in suggesting corresponding policies to specific issues.

She hoped Lam would fulfill the promise to increase the number of female principal officials and bureau heads in the government.

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