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Women Take on the Weather in Hong Kong
As female meteorologists become familiar faces in Hong Kong via TV weather bulletins, the field of meteorology -- once dominated by men -- is now shared by women.

More and more Hong Kong women are showing interest in the profession and have joined the Hong Kong Observatory as meteorologists.

In particular, senior scientific officer Sharon Lau has been invited to join the Management Group of the Technical Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organization, the highest international post ever held by a woman meteorologist from Hong Kong.

Lau's achievements in wind shear detection and other aviation weather services at Hong Kong's airport have attracted the attention of the international aviation meteorological community.

She is also the Chairwoman of the Working Group on Training, Environment and New Developments in the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology.

"Being invited to join the group is not my personal achievement. It actually represents the great effort made by all my colleagues in the observatory over the past 20 years," Lau said.

"I am very pleased to become part of the organization and it is a great honour to join the group," she said.

Lau used to be a computer programmer. However, she left the job and joined the observatory in 1985 because she fancied a more challenging and exciting career.

On her return from the Second International Conference on Women in Meteorology in Geneva last March, Lau observed that compared with meteorological agencies in many other countries or territories, the career development opportunities for women in the Hong Kong Observatory are very good.

The observatory had a female meteorologist on staff as early as 1892.

Annie Doberck was hired that year to visit ships in port to take weather observations from their navigation log books. Because of the nature of her work, she was nicknamed "Sampan Annie" or "Typhoon Annie."

The present ratio of female to male meteorological staff in the Observatory is about 1:6, close to the ratio of female-to-male students taking science subjects in tertiary institutions in Hong Kong. Many women at the observatory have been recognized by their peers and the public.

Scientific Officer Sandy Song, another woman at the observatory, has been voted its best television weather presenter on several occasions.

At the invitation of the China Meteorological Administration, Song presented national television weather bulletins in Beijing last year.

Another outstanding female recruit to the observatory is Chief Experimental Officer Christina Yeung. On leaving school in 1977, she joined the observatory as the first female Student Scientific Assistant. She was selected for training in meteorology in the United Kingdom in 1982, and promoted to Experimental Officer upon successful completion of the course.

During her 25 years with the observatory, Yeung has undertaken a variety of jobs at different levels. At present, She is in charge of nuclear contingency planning.

(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2003)

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