The role of the Italian women in HK
by Michela Bardotti and Paola Caronni
The Italian Women’s Association (a registered charity in Hong Kong) and Beyond Thirty-nine are starting their collaboration today, with this very first article. We are sure that there will be many more interesting contributions to follow and that our members will have a lot to say and to share through this amazing cultural platform.
It is a great honor to have this window “on the world” and we are truly grateful to B39 for this opportunity! We both indeed share the same vision of collaboration, networking, mutual support and meaningful impact in others people’s life!
Here below you can find some information regarding our Association and an overview on the role we play in Hong Kong both for the needy ones as well as for all the Italian ladies who join us.
The Italian Women’s Association is a Charity Organization, registered in Hong Kong in 1996. Our Association welcomes both Italian and non-Italian ladies who are interested in our friendship, language, culture and various activities. We focus on organizing multiple events, such as social and cultural gatherings, children’s playgroups, hiking, lectures, coffee mornings, etc. In this way, members of our Association can meet regularly. The ladies who have recently arrived in Hong Kong will also have a chance to find a welcoming and supportive environment.
Besides the social get-togethers, the end goal of our Association is to raise funds for different charities in Hong Kong, so much in need of our support in order to successfully carry out or complete their various projects. We are also cooperating with different organizations and other women’s associations in Hong Kong.
Our Association clearly shows how the presence of women in society (in our case, the Italian ladies) is getting more influential each day!
We conducted a survey few months ago among our members to better understand what were our members’ needs, interests and background.
The results has been quite interesting, as it emerged that:
- We have a high level of education.
- We are all engaged into some meaningful activities and/or are working (full time / part time). This is showing the desire to be financially independent.
- Whether we arrived in Hong Kong on our own or following our families, our goal is to make the difference in the outside world and to be successful.
- Professionally, we are mostly in leadership position in many job sectors, even those traditionally belonging to men, such as Finance and Banking. Among us you can find very successful Architects and Interior Designers, Directors, Managers, Heads of Banks and Financial Institutions, Journalists, Entrepreneurs, Linguists and Interpreters, University Professors, Teachers and Educators, Master students, well-known Chefs and so on…
- We have different hobbies, skills and unique capabilities.
- We still manage to run the family and take care of our children in the best way.
All this shows that our ladies (like many women) are proud and passionate individuals, committed to whatever they engage in. They are curious and demanding, sensible to what happens around them and very skilled at networking. Their foundations are strong and solid and they are supported by a very deep sense of responsibility and hard work, with family and friendship as true and important core values.
The stereotyped image of the “Italian woman” staying home, as pictured in the old-style patriarchal society, is no longer valid. Even less in our Hong Kong microcosm: if we accepted to embark in an experience that takes us away from our homeland and family ties, it is because we are ready to accept all challenges in life.
Italians have a long history of painful immigration – along with the Chinese. Our ‘new’ and recent immigration is of a different kind. It has been driven by true choice and desire to succeed without accepting any compromise, and it is enforced by the wish to bring a value added contribution to the country that is hosting us.
Nowadays, the role and the impact of the Italian women in different fields of professional and social life is more and more important and significant. We are able to show a level of leadership and determination that is quite outstanding. We can accomplish things with ease, grace, professionalism and elegance, without having to leave behind family duties and affections.
Very few people know it – and maybe it is not a coincidence – that the very first woman in the world to receive a University degree was Elena Cornaro Piscopia, a Venetian philosopher. And that was in 1678! This shows how still resolute we are in showing who we are and in getting rid of the old-time stereotype of the Italian ‘mama’, slave to the whims of the pater familias.