Born to a reputable family in Xiamen, Fujian, Dr. Ellen Li, C.B.E., LL.D., JP. received schooling in Hong Kong, Xiamen and Shanghai. She graduated from the Shanghai University with a degree in business administration. Always brimming with compassion and devotion, she had been active in serving the community since her youth. Since 1936, the year she married her life-long companion Dr. Li Shu Pui, Dr. Li had been making major contribution to the development of the Hong Kong Young Women¡¦s Christian Association serving as its Board Member, President and Honorary President until 2005. In 1938, she established the Hong Kong Chinese Women¡¦s Club to support the war efforts in the frontline. She founded the Hong Kong Family Planning Association after the war, making big strides in promoting family planning and raising the living standards of the middle-and lower strata of society. With providing higher education to women high on her mind, Dr. Li spared no efforts in raising the education level of women with excellent outcome. In recognition of her public services, she was conferred an Honorary Degree LL.D. by the University of Hong Kong in 1969.

Dr. Li was a prominent public figure in Hong Kong, being the first woman Justice of Peace (1948) and Legislative Councillor (1966), as well as the first Chinese woman to be appointed to the Urban Council (1964). She was also a member of the Hong Kong University Court and The Chinese University Council, and served as an advisor to numerous charitable and educational organizations. As a further recognition of her achievements in community work, Dr. Li was conferred the OBE in 1964, and later became the first woman in Hong Kong to receive the CBE in 1974. She was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Women¡¦s Forum and received the Hall of Fame Award for the year 1999.

A front-line advocate of gender equality and social justice, Dr. Li had been fighting an uphill battle for women¡¦s rights and equal pay in years. The struggle culminated in the passage of the revised marriage laws in the Legislative Council in 1971, formally putting an end to all the scourges inflicted upon women under the laws of the Qing dynasty.

Dr. Li passed away at the age of 96 in 2005. She left behind not only a legend of absolute resolve and inexhaustible public spirit exemplified in all her contributions, but also a role model to which later generations look up to initiating social changes.
  Dr. ELLEN LI¡¦s Public Services Record
  1. Qualification:
    B.A. University of Shanghai (1932)
LL.D. University of Hong Kong (1969)
  2. Awards from H.M. the Queen:
    J.P. 1948
    M.B.E. 1958
    O.B.E. 1964
    C.B.E. 1974 (1st Woman in HK)
  3. Government appointments :
    (1) Legislative Council (1966-73) (1st Woman in HK)
    (2) Urban Council (1964-69) (1st appointed Chinese Women)
    (1) HK University Court (1948-76)
    (2) Organising Committee for Establishment of Chinese University (1963-66)
    (3) Chinese University Council (1966-77)
    (4) Board of Education (1951-72)
    (5) Standing Committee on Technical Education and Training (1961-64)
    (6) Board of Extra Mural Studies, HKU (1957-67)
    (7 )Board of Extra Mural Studies, Chinese University (1967-77)
    (8) Education Scholarship Committee (1953-66)
    (9) Advisory Com. For Hotung Technical School for Girls (1954-65)
    (10) Board of Review, Education Dept. (1971-77)
    (11) Selection Com. for Commonwealth Universities Scholarship
      Social Welfare
    (1) Social Welfare Advisory Committee (1962-76)
    (2) Board of Review on Long Term Prisoners (1959-74)
  4. Social Welfare Agencies :
    1. Hong Kong YWCA Board Members since 1946
      President 51-2, 56-59, 65-70
      Hon. President 1985- 2005
    2. HK Chinese Women¡¦s Club (Founder, President & Chairman) (1938-90)
    3. HK Family Planning Association (Founder, President & Chairman) (1951-90)
    4. Federation of University Woman (Founder & Vice President)
    5. HK Council of Women (Founder & President)
  5. Inductee of the Hall of Fame of the International Women¡¦s Forum (IWF); received the Hall of Fame Award for the Year 1999
  6. School Councils :
    1. St. Stephen Girl¡¦s School since 1954
    2. Mei Wah Secondary School