A study of the experiences of working single women in Hong Kong.
This qualitative study explores the experiences of single women in Hong Kong
from contextual and developmental perspectives. Thirty single women were
interviewed using a feminist approach. The findings of this study indicate that single
women face some different but also some similar developmental tasks as do married
women. They fulfil developmental tasks of working, establishing friendships and
securing accommodation. The women also experience stresses arising from
singlehood and from their work. An individual woman's appraisal of the situation was
significant in determining whether singlehood or work were or were not stressful.
Singlehood, instead of being a problem to a woman, might be regarded as a challenge.
Single women in this study reveal that they enjoy their lives outside the confines of
marriage. They have social support and their participation in employment has
enhanced their social status and independence.
The experiences of single women in this study are also closely related to their
experiences in the wider social environment: with their family members, friends,
colleagues, and church-mates, and in their socio-cultural context. Their perception of
the attitude of those in these different parts of the social environment had in one way or
another, significantly affected how they felt about themselves as single women and how
they saw their role in their own family, their work place and their social network.
Most of the women perceive the general social attitude toward singlehood to have
changed towards being more liberal in Hong Kong nowadays. Not all the women,
however, feel well accepted by their immediate social circle or society. Emphasis in
this study was also placed on how the single women cope with being single. Patterns
and themes identified are illustrated by narrative data.