Gender Equity in Hong Kong


Chris WIlliams. Working Paper. “Gender Equity in Hong Kong”.


The press has stated women in Hong Kong are struggling to find a husband because they want to ‘marry up’ (hypogamy). The gender ratio in Hong Kong for those between the ages of 20 and 40 is substantially weighted towards a surplus of women, which is a factor limiting mate choice for women. Moreover, there have been significant improvements in gender equality in the region, as indicated by increases in women’s educational attainment and decreases in the difference of income between men and women over the past 30 years. Thus, one would expect there are fewer opportunities for women to enter hypogamous relationships. 

It has been shown economic advancements, often, first result in women placing an increasing emphasis on achieved characteristics, but that overtime the trend is reversed as women develop a preference for personal-emotional attraction. Therefore, it is surprising for women, in a developed region like Hong Kong, to place such great emphasis on the achieved characteristics of their husbands. My research will examine assortative mating theory, Hong Kong's demographic history, Chinese anthropological literature and sociological literature on gender norms and intersectionality, to determine i) if all women have benefited from the described advancements in gender equality, and ii) if women’s marital choices have changed in response to demographic, anthropological or sociological forces. This is important because a decrease in marriage rates in Hong Kong is likely to result in ultra-low fertility rates, and ultimately rapid population ageing with its associated challenges.