History

In 2002, we moved from words to action. Join us now as we help shape the future by investing in the power and potential of women and girls! 

In September 2002 a group of like-minded women began discussing the need for an organisation that could be a voice for women and girls in Hong Kong. The group was concerned about problems for women across a wide spectrum of Hong Kong society: under-representation of women in decision-making processes, lack of economic parity, increasing numbers of women in crisis, and serious inadequacies in social services for women in areas as diverse as medical tests for female-specific diseases; housing for older single women; domestic violence; lack of skills training for dislocated female manufacturing workers; and settlement services for mainland arrivals, primarily women and children. 

The Hong Kong citizens holding up half the sky did not seem to be fully sharing in society. 

Researching initiatives around the world on behalf of women, the group became committed to the concept of a women's foundation. After studying many models, they identified several key ingredients to success: the need to begin with systematic research, the ability to pull together a diverse team of people committed to change, the ability to attract and maintain a significant stream of private funding, and the mission to be a catalyst for collaborative efforts in the community to plan and implement strategic solutions. 

Milestones:

2001-2002: A group of local women-oriented NGOs begins meeting to help form an organisation to assure financial support of their efforts. This group later becomes the HER Fund. Alicia Kershaw works with this group and decides to assist their overall effort, and the efforts of others, by bringing other women to the cause and by concentrating on research. 

September 2002: Formation of a working committee, called the Women's Research Initiative (WRI), under the leadership of Alicia Kershaw. 

January 2003: Pamela Smith assumes leadership role, while Alicia continues to provide support from the US. 

November 5, 2003: Registration of WRI as a Hong Kong society, name later changes to The Women's Foundation. 

September 2004: Approval as a Hong Kong registered charity under the name of The Women's Foundation. 

October 2004: TWF awards its first grant to a team of ten researchers to conduct Phase I of a benchmark research project, "The Status of Women & Girls in Hong Kong." Phase I to be completed by Spring 2005. 

March 3, 2005: Official Launch of The Women's Foundation, celebrated with a week-long exhibition of photos: "A Celebration of Women & Girls In Hong Kong" in coordination with International Women's Day. 

Summer, 2005: TWF award grants to the 18 NGOs and women's organisations participating in the March launch. 

December 1, 2005: First successful fundraiser, with a theme of Women in Philanthropy, raises almost HK$80,000. 

March 4, 2006: TWF unveils results of benchmark study, "The Status of Women and Girls in Hong Kong," at a public symposium and stakeholder engagement forum held at Hong Kong University. Stakeholder feedback leads TWF to focus on women’s economic self-reliance. 

Fall 2006: TWF kicks off a year-long stakeholder engagement project to assess community needs in three key areas: Women in Leadership, Women in Poverty, and Girls. 

January 2007: TWF Produces and disseminates the benchmark study "The Status of Women & Girls In Hong Kong" (2006), in English and Chinese to over 1000 entities.

February 28, 2007: TWF convenes forty female leaders for a forum on Women in Leadership in Hong Kong, as part of the stakeholder engagement project.

December 2006 and March 7, 2007: TWF conducts interviews, focus groups and convenes a forum of over sixty community leaders to discuss Women in Poverty.

May 9, 2007: A charity wine auction in Shanghai organised by TWF friend, Diana Dai, is TWF's first major fundraising event raising over HK$800,000.

Summer 2007: TWF partners with local theatre production company, Spring-time Productions, for a re-run of Eve Ensler’s globally popular play about women, The Vagina Monologues. TWF participates in after-show discussions about women, their sexuality and the taboos and stigmas in the Hong Kong community. TWF also disseminates questionnaires to audience members, asking their opinions and views of women.

July 2007: The final stage of the Stakeholder Engagement process tackles TWF’s third priority area: Girls and Development. TWF convenes three focus groups and several interviews with girls and young women themselves as well as leading figures in the community concerned with girls’ development.

September - December 2007: Based on the recommendations of the Stakeholder Engagements, TWF’s first grantmaking initiative begins – non-profit organisations in Hong Kong are encouraged to apply for grants in two key areas: Women in Leadership and Women in Poverty.

January 2008: Following on from the first round of grant applications for Women in Leadership and Women in Poverty, a third grant application is sent to non-profit organisations in Hong Kong, encouraging them to apply for funding for programmess that focus on girls and their development.

February 2008: TWF holds its first major fundraiser of the year, The Women’s Foundation Leadership Dinner, which raises HK$2 million through table and seat sales, raffle sales and auctioning of items. The Dinner is completely underwritten by corporate sponsors Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. The Dinner also presents the inaugural The Women’s Foundation Leadership Awards to five female leaders in the following areas: Philanthropy, Political Leadership, Social Change, Research on Women and a Student Leader. 

May 2008: TWF publishes the bilingual Executive Summary of Closing the Gender Gap in Hong Kong: Conversations with the Community, a report based upon the findings and recommendations from the stakeholder engagement process. The publication of the report and executive summary is underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

July 2008: Launch of TWF's Financial Literacy and Introduction to Entrepreneurship programmes for over 100 low-income women from some of the poorest districts in Hong Kong.

September 2008: TWF engages Focus on Films to run a film-making workshop on gender themes for young, mid and older teens. Three films are produced.

October 2008: TWF publishes the full bilingual report "Closing the Gender Gap in Hong Kong: Conversations with the Community". The report is underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

March 2009: Launch of The Women's Foundation's inaugural Mentoring Programme, matching 27 pairs of young professional women with female business leaders.

June 2009: TWF's films produced by Focus on Films are screened as part of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner.

August 2009: Su-Mei Thompson is appointed as TWF's new Executive Director, followed by a number of other key staff appointments.

October 2009: TWF's second annual Leadership Awards and Dinner raises HK$1.8 million for women's and girls' causes in Hong Kong.

March 2010: TWF's inaugural International Women's Day lunch attracts over 300 mainly female corporate executives and supporters and showcases the work of four local grassroots NGOs serving disadvantaged women in the community.

About Us- About TWF- History & Mission- Our Board- Our Team- TWF Publications- Previous Updates Our Work- Financial Literacy and Employability Training Programme- Life Skills Programme- Mentoring Programme for Women Leaders- T.E.E.N. Programme- TWF Research- Women on Boards - Women's Networks- Leading Women Speaker Series- Cambridge Scholarship Scheme Get Involved- Upcoming Events- Past Events- Volunteering & Internship- Employment Opportunities- Donate Now!- Join Our Mailing List Media Library- TWF News Column- Press Coverage- TWF in the Spotlight- Press Releases- Apsis Message Archive Resources- Articles- Hong Kong Organisations: Links- International Organisations: Links