Feature Stories

27.03.2018

A Strong Call to Promote Gender Parity and Inclusion

International Women’s Day not only encourages women to achieve their ambitions and unleash their potential, but also represents a strong call on everyone to make a positive change for parity and inclusion.

On 9 March, the School organized an Alumni Sharing Session entitled “Turning Your Passion into Vision”, featuring two talented alumnae speakers who follow their passions. The two speakers were Venus Leung (BSc in Quantitative Finance), Co-Founder & General Manager of Parkland Music Ltd, and Fion Leung (BBA in Management of Organizations), Co-Founder of Time Auction. Both resigned from their jobs in banks to start their own companies.

When asked by moderator Prof Veronique A. Lafon-Vinais, Executive Director (Career and Corporate Outreach) and Associate Professor of Business Education, about their startup journeys, Venus said with limited resources in a startup she has to work extremely hard and efficiently. Fion opined that self-discipline and the ability to prioritize are the key attributes for entrepreneurs. Fion reminded her peers to stay curious about what others do, while Venus encouraged others to get prepared for opportunities ahead.

As the founder of one of the leading music school chains (Parkland Music) in Hong Kong which has over 10,000 students, Venus is thankful for the education she received from the HKUST Business School, where she learnt how to solve problems and met with people from diverse backgrounds. Fion got inspired in an entrepreneurship class at HKUST. With a passion for volunteering, she started a side project called Time Auction in 2014, which quickly gained traction among donors and young adults. The project has accumulated over 15,000 volunteer hours to date, featuring many visionary business and community leaders.

In another joint effort to champion International Women's Day, the Women in MBA Network (WiMN), a student-led group which focuses on supporting women to be successful in the workplace, launched its first Women In Leadership conference on 10 March. The conference, co-organized by the MBA Programs Office and the HKUST MBA Alumni Association, invited female senior executives from Fortune 500 companies to share their stories about breaking through career hurdles and achieving goals.

These two activities, and many others across the campus, were similar to a series of university-wide activities (under the hashtag theme of #itsME) held to celebrate International Women’s Day. A highlight included the Women in Innovation Forum on 7 March entitled “Challenges vs Chances”, where a keynote speech was made by Christina Zhang, Treasurer, Director of Corporate Strategy from DJI and an alumnus of the School. It was followed by a panel discussion including Ms Zhang; Theodore Ma, Co-founder of co-working space and entrepreneurial network builder CoCoon; Angie Lau, CEO of intimate apparel company Clover Group International; Dr Sabrina Lin, HKUST’s Vice-President for Institutional Advancement; Division Head of Social Science, and the panel’s moderator Prof Kellee Tsai; and two HKUST engineering students. The panel discussed topics spanning gender stereotypes in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Management (STEM), the qualities required of women to thrive in a male-dominated environment, and challenges women face in STEM and business fields.

Launched in February, IWD@HKUST featured a series of activities including showing movies, drone workshops, a fun online campaign for image sharing on girls in math, engineering, science and technology, a gender quiz and designed profile picture frames for social media users to show their support. For more information, please visit: https://iwd.ust.hk/events/