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People's Daily Online>>Special Coverage >> China Studies >> Cooperation >> Economy and Society

Fair Employment Is an Important Way to Safeguard Women's Rights

(People's Daily Online)

16:19, February 24, 2012

On November 9, 2011, “International Forum on Women and Sustainable Development”opened in Beijing. Chen Zhili,Vice Chairman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee and President of All-China Women's Federation, said in her keynote address at the opening ceremony that Chinese Government has actively promoted gender equality and encouraged women's development, and as a result, the status of Chinese women has been observably improved.

China is a country with the largest population in the world. Chinese Government has always attached great importance to how to make women fairly share the fruits of reform and development. Chinese government insists on implementing the basic state policy of gender equality. It enacts and perfects laws and regulations to maintain women’s rights and promote women's development. It also protects women’s development opportunities and realizes their rights by various means like justice, administration, publicity, education and economy, society.

If women want to get a true liberation and obtain the same status and rights with men, the key is to achieve independent economic status. Employment is basic guarantee for women to win economic independence and development, and it is also an important way for women to participate in social development. Engels once said: “the first prerequisite for women's liberation is that all the women go back to the public labor.” From China’s implementation of relevant laws and regulations and the actual situation of female employment, there are still many issues of gender inequality. Therefore continuous efforts led by the government and participated by multiple social forces are needed to provide equal employment opportunities for both men and women.

Government should take action to establish and improve the social operating mechanisms of promoting women's employment.

Employment is the foundation of the people's livelihood. A series of related laws and regulations, including Constitution of the People‘s Republic of China, Labor Law of the People's Republic of China, Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, Regulations on Labor Protection of Female Workers, Regulations on taboo labor scope of Women Workers, explicitly forbids direct and indirect gender-based discrimination in employment opportunities and employment conditions—training, promotion, health and safety— as well as in dismissal and social security.

The Outline for the Development of Chinese Women (2001-2010) ranks women and the economy as the primary objectives, emphasizing that national macro-policies, laws and section policies must focus on ensuring women's employment, and puts forward the basic tasks and main measures of women's development in the field of labor employment. For example, Constitution of the People‘s Republic of China Article 42 states: “through various approaches, China creates employment situations and strengthens labor protection and improves working conditions and increases payment and benefits on the basis of expanded production. Before getting a job, Citizen in China must receive necessary training. “

The Labor Law of the People's Republic of China entered into force in 1955. “Chapter II Promotion of Employment” provides that “Article 10, the State shall create conditions for employment and increase employment opportunities by means of promotion of economic and social development. The State shall encourage enterprises, institutional organizations, social groups to initiate industries or expand business for the increase of employment within the scope provided by laws, and administrate rules and regulations. The State shall support laborers to achieve employment by organizing themselves on a voluntary basis or by engaging in individual businesses. Article 11, local people's governments at various levels shall take measures by developing employment agencies of various forms, to provide employment services. Article 12, labors, regardless of their ethnic group, race, sex, or religious belief, shall not be discriminated against in employment. Article 13, women shall enjoy the equal right to employment with men. With exception of the special types of work or post unsuitable to women as prescribed by the state, no unit may,in employing staff and workers, refuse to employ women by reason of sex or raise the employment standards for women. Article 14, in respect of the employment of the disabled people, minority ethnic groups, and demobilized army man where there are special stipulations in laws, rules, and regulations, such stipulations shall apply. Article 15, no employing units are allowed to recruit minors under the age of 16. Institutions of literature and art and physical culture and special arts and crafts that recruit minors under the age of 16 must go through the formalities of examination and approval in accordance with the relevant provisions of the State and guarantee their right to compulsory education. The six articles are to make clear the promoting employment principles.

The national legal aid system , the judicial assistance system and legal service system have been established and developed in succession as justice is playing an increasingly important role in maintaining fairness and justice; the socialized mechanism of right safeguarding gradually came into being to ensure gender equality and uphold women’s rights and interests, a system that get disadvantaged women share more and more of the country's legal resources and access to legal remedies; in addition, a relentless effort has been made to provide legal assistance and to publicize law in the interest of protecting women’s legitimate rights and interest.

Social action: provide and create social conditions to promote women's employment.

In November 2002, the Sixteenth National Congress Report of the Communist Party of China (CPC) first proposed that employment is the foundation of people's livelihood. Creating job becomes an important goal of the Government, and enlarging employment becomes a significant task of the Government. To support the Government action, social aspects actively act and play a proper role to make use of non-governmental organizations to provide service platforms for women's employment. In the course of promoting women's employment, the All-China Women's Federation are duty-bound. Boosting and enlarging women’s employment is an important task of the All-China Women's Federation. Women's federations should combine with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Labor and Social Security Department, construction Department, tax Department and other government departments to draft programs to promote women's employment; through continued effective follow-up survey on female employment, women's federations can promptly discover problems in women's employment, actively reflect and effectively alleviate women’s employment difficulties. Women's federations should also use their own advantages to play a role in promoting and expanding women's employment. Furthermore, women's federations should pay great attention to maintain women’s various rights such as an equal employment right between women and men, social security right of employed women, labor protection right of employed women. On the one hand, women's federations must reflect the real situation of women in development, improve gender mainstreaming capacity, and report women's aspirations to the relevant authorities. On the other hand, it should strengthen its service for disadvantaged women by protecting their basic rights to survival and development and empowering them really.

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