Managing equal opportunities for women: sorting the friends from the foes


Catherine W. Ng, Department of Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Email:


Employees working in Hong Kong were surveyed on their attitudes towards managing equal opportunities for women. Results indicate that gender is a better predictor of attitudes than work identity. Manager/employee work identity has an add-on moderating effect on some women-friendly policies but not on others. Out of seven women-friendly dimensions, women as managers are less receptive of only two: 'training and development' and 'positive equal opportunities'; men as managers, in contrast, are less resistant to 'training and development' and 'flexitime'. The findings suggest that there are three levels of gatekeeping: one, male employees; two, male managers; and three, female managers. We suggest that to help women employees break the glass ceiling, different organisational and societal change programmes are needed to target the different groups of gatekeepers.