HONG KONG: Women in Hong Kong are more pessimistic and face greater pressures than their counterparts in Taiwan and mainland China, a new survey has revealed.

A study of 11,500 women across 26 cities by Starcom MediaVest, the media agency, shows women in the region have markedly different attitudes about their lives and expectations, which might require advertisers to rethink some of their strategies.

For example, whereas older women in Taiwan are shown to be content and adept at connecting with their daughters via the internet, their counterparts in Hong Kong often feel disenfranchised and isolated from their families.

Justin Low, Starcom MediaVest's brand reputation and communications director for Greater China, suggested those advertisers wanting to target older women could benefit from directing adverts at their daughters, urging them to spend more time with their mothers. "You can cater your ads to target another demographic to get them to purchase stuff for the demographic that you want," he said.

Equally, younger women in Hong Kong are shown to find it hard to break through the glass ceiling because of entrenched hierarchies coupled with a lack of guidance and confidence, whereas women on the mainland feel there is no glass ceiling and they can advance as high as they want.

Joanna Von Felkerzam, the Starcom MediaVest's director of research and insights for Asia Pacific, said there is greater mobility across different tiers in mainland China, where women feel that opportunities abound, but in Hong Kong career paths for women are much more "linear" because women prefer to work for established firms or in the professions.

She said: "Young Hong Kong women are not being programmed to be the career-minded girls in the way today's career women were. It's a big societal change that Hong Kong has to go through and what doesn't make it easier is knowing that across the border are these generations of ambitious, driven women and this competitive spirit."

The survey also suggested women in Taiwan have a more balanced approach to work and the family with many content to step off the career ladder in order to start a family. Von Felkerzam said Taiwanese women don't see this as "diminishing their achievements or their pride" compared to attitudes in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Data sourced from South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc staff