Gender and social capital: The case of a deprived urban community in Hong Kong

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Despite social capital becoming increasingly significant under the current context of neoliberalist globalisation, the concept has been criticised by feminists as largely gender-blind. This chapter reports on a study that used the Social Capital Questionnaire - Chinese (SCQ-C), as well as qualitative interviews of women from different income groups, to examine gender differences in social capital in the deprived community of Tin Shui Wai North (TSWN). The quantitative and qualitative findings echo feminists’ call for gendering social capital theory and measurement. Using the SCQ-C scale and the resultant seven-factor model to measure social capital, gender differences were identified among six factors, and the composed items of each showed gender differences at a statistically significant level. Regarding the factors/dimensions showing gender differences, the tendency to participate in less-demanding activities, the low expectation of help from family and friends (outside the community), the significance of work experience in nurturing self-agency, the relational orientation in constituting a positive evaluation of life, and the detrimental effect of low trust and a low sense of safety in the development of social capital are specific to low-income women in this deprived community. The qualitative interviews provided further information. The tendency for social capital to cater to practical rather than strategic gender needs was revealed. The conflicts between domestic work and community participation for social capital in the patriarchal society of Hong Kong echo the triple burden highlighted by feminist studies. Mobilising social capital to deal with strategic gender needs and gender inequality is necessary. In addition, the study reveals the capacity of the SCQ-C scale to unravel gender differences, although the insufficient attention to gender in community participation and neighbourhood connections points to the need to strengthen the gender sensitivity of the measurement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsia and China in the Global Era
EditorsAdrian J. Bailey, Ricardo K. S. Mak
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781501505591
ISBN (Print)9781501514890
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameSocial and Cultural Changes in China [SCCC]
PublisherDe Gruyter
ISSN (Print)2625-5987
ISSN (Electronic)2625-5995


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