By Sonia Wong

Abstract: When the government announced the suspension of classes, the assumption behind the policy was that more than 880,000 school children in Hong Kong would have their parents stay at home to take care of them. The reality is, the caregivers who stayed at home were usually women, putting them in an impossible situation where they were forced to choose between their children and their jobs. The government’s insensitivity shows how our society is still filled with all kinds of “myths” and “assumptions” about women and care-taking duties that ignore women’s autonomy as well as the contribution of care-taking duties to society. In this presentation, I will talk about the unique challenges faced by different groups of caretakers, namely Hong Kong women, new immigrants, and migrant domestic workers, under COVID-19 in Hong Kong.

Keywords: caretaker, COVID-19, Hong Kong, migrant domestic workers, women

Based in Hong Kong, Sonia Wong now teaches at the Gender Studies Programme, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include lesbian identity, female sexuality, film, new media, and local women’s history. In 2013, she founded Reel Women Hong Kong, the first and only independent film festival in Hong Kong devoted to the promotion of female-created films and gender awareness. In 2018, she founded the first Women’s Festival in Hong Kong with Eaton HK and Sally Coco. Apart from being a film festival organiser and academic, she is also a poet, writer, visual artist, and advocate. –