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International Women’s Day 2023: Spotlight On Leading Hong Kong Mamas

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Spotlight On Women In Business

Celebrating these leading Hong Kong ladies by exploring their efforts to #EmbraceEquity.

Women should be celebrated every day! Though International Women’s Day is a great reminder for us to focus on the awesomeness of females around the world and what they have achieved. When it comes to exceptional women, Hong Kong is most definitely no exception. This year, we’re shining a spotlight on women in business who embody this year’s theme: #EmbraceEquity.

Jump to: 
Caroline Choi — Founder of Hong Kong Divorce
Ziggy Makant — Women’s Health & Fitness Advocate
Crisel Consunji — Singer, Actress & Founder of Baumhaus
Betty Richardson — Food Writer & Influencer
Shima Shimizu — Founder of Foodcraft

Read More: Embracing Equity In The Hong Kong Workplace — Is Your Office Up To Scratch?


caroline choi hong kong international womens day

Caroline Choi — Founder Of Hong Kong Divorce

Let’s face it, divorce can be a difficult process emotionally and financially for all involved. That’s why Caroline Choi created Hong Kong Divorce, a free educational tool and resource for individuals struggling to navigate the system in Hong Kong. It aims to set out in simple terms what you can expect to encounter in the run-up to a divorce, and during the long and sometimes complicated process that may follow. Its mission is to provide a concise and clear overview of the law, answer common queries and provide general support to those in need. She shares her thoughts on the need to #EmbraceEquity, especially for women going through a separation.

What is your proudest achievement?

I recently got married!  Throughout my career, people always have asked if divorce law has made me sceptical about marriage. Marriage is a beautiful thing and I always tell my clients that even if they get a divorce, it is never too late to try again and find your partner. Divorce is challenging and can feel like a long marathon, but once you cross that finish line, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start.

What changes have you made in your life to #EmbraceEquity?

I created Hong Kong Divorce with equity in mind, which is to provide every individual with free access to information that may be difficult to obtain without hiring costly solicitors and barristers. Whilst it does not provide legal advice, it does provide individuals with basic information on how to navigate divorce in Hong Kong, giving individuals the knowledge and power of how to proceed. There is also helpful information from mental health professionals and resources designed to assist families on an emotional level.

How do you see the position of women and girls in Hong Kong?

In divorce, women may sometimes feel at a disadvantage, especially in Hong Kong where traditional cultural values remain in place. Hong Kong Divorce aims to provide all individuals, regardless of gender with free access to information, with the knowledge that it will often be women feeling those cultural pressures who need better access to these resources. With this knowledge comes the power to make informed decisions for their future and the future of their children.

Hong KongDivorce, www.hongkongdivorce.comFacebook: Hong Kong Divorce

Read More: Where To Find Counselling, Psychologists And Therapists In Hong Kong


Ziggy Makant — Women’s health and fitness advocate

Ziggy is a mother of two boys (with a baby on the way!), Hong Kong-born third-culture kid who has spent the last decade dedicated to women’s health and fitness. She is currently the training manager at Joint Dynamics Evolve where she works with a dedicated team of personal trainers, exercise physiologists, and pilates and yoga instructors who are passionate about all things women’s health: from menstrual cycles to menopause, and fertility to postnatal and everything in between.

Do you have any life hacks to help you juggle your family and professional life?

I have found that curating your village is the only way to do it. Some people have family support, while others don’t. I’ve found the mixture of communicating with our amazing helper, having my in-laws close by and a partner who has a flexible schedule helps! My work environment is extremely supportive, and I’m grateful for the structure we’ve managed to create to support our staff who undergo the motherhood transition.

How would you describe this year’s International Women’s Day theme #embraceequity?

Equity was recently described to me as this:

“Everyone is looking over a fence, and the way we embrace is by adjusting the height of the box we stand on.”

Then, everyone can see equally over the fence. It helps me conceptualise how we all start out at different places, and by providing an extra inch to that box with education, support, resources, understanding, compassion and opportunity, we can truly embrace equity.

As a mother of two boys, how do you empower your children to embrace equity?

Children are sponges, born without bias, and they gradually get taught social constructs. I’ve tried to encourage exploration of their interests, exposing them to different activities across sports, arts and language. My eldest found out how much he loved to dance through Ballroom Bees. I think it helps that my husband and I have similar jobs in the fitness industry, and their concept of “strength” or that “girls can’t do that” or activity is “just for boys”, is usually explored and dispelled very quickly.

Read More: That Mama — Ziggy Makant 

Crisel Consunji — Singer, actress and founder of Baumhaus

Parents all over Hong Kong are familiar with Baumhaus, a family and community space in the heart of Wan Chai. The woman behind this much-loved infant and toddler playroom and music class provider is the award-winning actress and singer Crisel Consunji. The pioneering family centre is a space designed to empower children, parents and caregivers through child-centred educational experiences through creative arts and play.

What have been your proudest achievements?

Without a doubt, leading our small business and team through the social unrest and pandemic that have dominated the last few years, while still providing quality service, honest communication with clients, and meaningful employment for our staff. I’m proud that in the eight years of Baumhaus, our impact was not only in the families we served but in the training and empowerment of individuals in our team. I was able to mentor dozens of young professionals to make not just a living but to build a life that brings them joy and fulfilment.

What changes have you made to your personal or professional life to embrace equity in regard to gender, race, religion or any other aspect of your life?

Having once been in a disadvantaged position while trying to establish myself as an educator in Hong Kong, I decided (when I founded Baumhaus) to open professional opportunities specifically for young people, locals, and ethnic minorities who otherwise have had little opportunity to train and be hired as an early years educator.

At the same time, much of my community work involves training and empowering migrant women to upgrade skills, have opportunities for creative expression, and build “safe spaces” where they can better understand their intrapersonal and interpersonal development. I’ve done this both through Baumhaus and our partner organisations, most recently as a teacher for HKMU’s Capacity Building Mileage Program.

How do you empower your children to embrace equity? 

At the moment, my baby is only 9 months old; however, my husband and I endeavour to create an environment where she is exposed to people of various cultures and backgrounds. I believe that through the language we use and the actions we take, we powerfully communicate to our children what respect for people in society means.

Final words of advice…

“Trust your instincts and believe in yourself. Your values and your vision are your company’s DNA. While you listen to good advice, remember that the best decisions come from within.”

Read More: Hong Kong Playgroups For Babies And Toddlers

betty shanghai richardson iwd 2023 embrace equity

Betty Richardson, Food Writer

Betty Richardson, also known by her Instagram handle BettyShanghai, is a food photographer, writer and blogger. She speaks Chinese and has made it her mission to find amazing local food spots and share them with my audience. By providing local content to an English-speaking audience, she hopes to empower non-Chinese speakers to discover the unique culinary culture of the city.

What have been your proudest achievements?

Being paid to write and take pictures of food is a job I never dreamed would be possible! I definitely count myself lucky to work in a creative field.

As lucky as I’ve been to turn my foodie passion into a career, learning Mandarin as an adult was, and still is, an uphill slog. I’m proud of the fact that I can communicate and navigate my way around China using it.

What changes have you made in your life to #EmbraceEquity?

Educating myself about my racial privilege and comprehending the historical and continuing lack of equity given to other communities has been the first step on my journey, which is a life-long process that won’t ever be complete. Following that, donating resources that I have, like time and money, to improve equity is more useful than performative equity.

How do you empower your children to #EmbracyEquity?

I have two boys, so gender equity is really important to me. When I read books, I frequently change the pronouns of non-human characters to represent the female gender and I also look for books with non-white and/or female main characters. When speaking, I avoid gender stereotypes, for example, I always say “firefighter” or “police officer” rather than “fireman” or “policeman.” It’s a small effort, but the semantics are more important than we think.

Read More: Brunch Hong Kong — The Best Weekend Brunches And Free-Flow Buffets For Families

shima foodcraft iwd 2023 embrace equity

Shima Shimizu — Founder of Foodcraft

Shima Shimizu is the woman behind the all-female team at Foodcraft. Tucked away in Kennedy Town, it makes home-style food that you wish you had the time to make yourself! The brand pays particular attention to its ingredients and cooks with the love and care that you would give to your family at home. 

What do you enjoy most about being a parent? What do you find the most challenging?

My kids are still young and I can see how important I am to them. I feel joy when I see how happy they are just by showing up at their school events or picking them up from classes. It means so much to them and it gives me a sense of purpose too.

The most challenging thing is patience. If I cook with my kids I’ll spend twice as long (not to mention the cleaning!) and it’s faster and easier to do it without them, but that is where I need to learn patience to allow my kids to go through the learning process. It’s not easy! 

How do you see the position of women and girls in Hong Kong?

Coming from Japan, I must say Hong Kong is so advanced when it comes to women’s rights. Here in Hong Kong we have the choice of being a working woman or a full-time housewife. You will not be judged because you have a full-time job and hired a helper at home. In Japan, women are expected to be good mothers, wives, cooks and cleaners and if you cannot do that or outsource help for house chores you are “not enough” as a woman or “lazy”.

What has been your proudest achievement?

We have a small, yet amazing team here at Foodcraft and we have created so many great products together. We also try our best to provide exceptional customer service. 13 years in business in Hong Kong is no joke, hard work and there is no way I could have done this without my amazing team. I’m proud that we make foods that can be very crucial for customers. It could be gluten-free bread or unpasteurised sauerkraut with no MSG, but when we make that perfect product, it truly impacts our customers’ lives. That is the best moment and it gives us the purpose to continue what we do.

Read More: Mid-Week Meals — Gluten Free Recipes Your Family Will Love


This article is in paid partnership with the brands featured. Main image courtesy of Getty, other images courtesy of respective brands. MindnLife product services images courtesy of engin akyurt on UnsplashRosie Sun on Unsplash, SHVETS production from Pexels,  Nicola Barts from Pexels

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