Today, women are able to create their own fortune and accumulate wealth in their own right. It is, however, still uneasy for women to determine who and how to pass their legacies. A century ago, the difficulties on this issue faced by the women would be unimaginable in the then feudal society.
In many of the wills made by the Hong Kong Chinese from the 1840s to 1940s, surprisingly, a good number of them were made by females, then a group being suppressed and dominated. Their wishes involved a huge amount of wealth, especially from real estates, which gave a very contradictory view of reality from our traditional understanding about them.
Dr. Victor Zheng and Prof. Siu-lun Wong, the authors of Women Secrets Behind their Wills, discover that many of the wills were made by sex workers. Putting moral issues aside, becoming sex workers made them suffered pressure from society, on the other hand, it makes them gain fix income. They were able to feed their family and to gain financial independency. Some of them even got rich and gained their own properties. Therefore, it is not a surprise that these women could make their own will.
The society has changed a lot in these hundred years and the status of women has changed a lot too. Are the conditions of sex workers nowadays different from those in the past? Do they think differently? Are the problems they encounter different from those in the past? And, would they earn financial independency like the ones in the past?
Dr. Victor Zheng and Prof. Siu-lun Wong, together with Miss Kendy Yim, the Executive Director of Action for REACH OUT (Sex Workers Concern Group), would talk about the topic of sex workers and independency.
嚴潔心小姐 Miss Kendy Yim
Miss Kendy Yim obtained her MSSc. in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The title of her honors project is Street Sex Workers in Hong Kong: gender and social organization. She had worked for several non-governmental organizations before joining Action for REACH OUT (AFRO) in 2006. Currently she is the Executive Director of the organization. Action for REACH OUT is a Sex Workers Concern Group established in 1993. It offers services and support to women working in the sex industry in Hong Kong, advocates for sex workers’ rights and works towards decriminalization of sex work in the long run.
鄭宏泰博士 Dr. Victor Zheng
Dr. Victor Zheng is currently Research Assistant Professor of the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include: Chinese family business and inheritance; Hong Kong commercial history and society; Hong Kong and Macao social indicators; social transformation and identity; and gender studies.
黃紹倫教授 Prof. Siu-lun Wong
Prof. Siu-lun Wong is currently Honorary Professor of the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include: Chinese family enterprises and entrepreneurship, business networks, migration, Hong Kong social indicators and the development of sociology in China.
莊玉惜小姐 Miss Yuk Sik Chong
Miss Yuk Sik Chong, Master of Science in Conservation. She had been a journalist for ten years, and wrote the book Newspaper Stalls in Hong Kong. She is the editor of Women secrets behind their wills.