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China to Address Gender-based Discrimination

The first quarter of 2019 has seen important steps taken to strengthen protection of women’s rights.In December 2018, the ACWF lobbied the SPC to take into account the interests of women in judicial interpretation, develop a gender equality assessment mechanism, promote the legalisation of women’s rights protection in cooperation with the ACWF itself, and protect rural women’s land rights. In February 2019, nine ministries and mass organisations—including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Education, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the All-China Women Federation (ACWF), the Ministry of Justice, and the Supreme People’s Court (SPC)—jointly released a document targeting gender-based discrimination in the hiring process and promoting women’s participation in the workforce. According to the document, prospective employers must not restrict employment based on gender, nor inquire about the marital or childbearing status of the candidate. To enforce compliance, when a worker files a complaint the authorities now have a duty to meet with employers to rectify the discriminatory practice. In a setback, despite earlier positive reception of the policy recommendation, China’s legislators failed once again to abolish the rules on the ‘Detention and Reeducation for Those Involved in Prostitution’, which allow the police to arbitrarily detain sex workers and send them to ‘rehabilitation centres’ without trial for up to two years (see Tiantian Zheng’s essay in this issue). KL

(Sources: Caixin; China Court; China News; The New York Times; Voice of America)

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