Chinese lawmakers have voted to adopt a revised law to better protect women's rights and interests in areas such as education, employment, property distribution, and personal rights.
The newly-revised Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, passed at the closing meeting of a session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, will take effect in 2023.
Improving holistic framework
The law stipulates that the state shall take necessary measures to promote gender equality, eliminate discrimination of all forms against women and prohibit exclusion or restriction of women's legitimate rights and interests.
It also requires local governments at all levels to place more emphasis on strengthening their work in the relevant area.
To that end, the newly-revised law formulates an array of measures. For example, it mandates that gender equality, one of China's basic state policies, be incorporated into the country's education system.
The provisions comprise two tasks, namely, enhancing awareness of the concept of gender equality and ironing out gender discrimination in real terms, said Jiang Yue, professor at the School of Law, Xiamen University.
"In particular, they clarify the basic criteria for identifying gender discrimination, which will facilitate the implementation of the law," Jiang added.
Addressing difficulties, challenges
The newly-revised law prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace and mandates that gender discrimination in job recruitment, admission, promotion and dismissal be included in the supervision of labor rights protection.
To guarantee that women enjoy equal rights with men to property, the law stipulates that women's rights and interests in rural collective economic organizations shall not be infringed upon on the grounds that they are unmarried, married, divorced, widowed, or have no men in their households.
The revised law includes provisions on women's land rights and related rights and interests, which address long-standing problems in the area and will effectively ensure rural women's fundamental rights to survival and development, said Li Mingshun, professor at the China Women's University.
The law strengthens the protection of women's personal security. It specifies the responsibilities of governments and public security, civil affairs, human resources and social security, and health departments at all levels against the abduction, trafficking and kidnapping of women, as well as other acts that violate the rights and interests of them.
Those fail to report such offenses as required will be held accountable, according to the newly-revised law.
Care for women living in disadvantaged conditions has been highlighted in the revision, including providing the impoverished, elderly, or disabled women with assistance, employment and entrepreneurship support and other services.
The law also stipulates that mental health support should be provided to those in need.
Building family-friendly society
Analysts believe that several measures in the newly revised law will encourage the building of a family-friendly society.
These measures include the gradual establishment of a comprehensive healthcare system for women, the improvement of childcare services for infants and young children, and the optimization of the maternity leave system.
To eliminate discrimination, we must expand access to high-quality and affordable childcare services for families, Jiang said.
Employers should actively provide convenience for married employees with children to fulfill their family obligations, and the government can grant tax reductions or exemptions to the employers to reduce their costs, Jiang added.