South China's Guangzhou municipality is mulling
legislation seeking to widen job opportunities for women by
outlawing "males only" restrictions in job vacancies, according to
a bill submitted to the municipal people's congress.
The bill, proposed by Li Jin, a congress
representative and President of the Guangzhou Municipal Women's
Federation, backed by other women's rights advocates, said
employers will face a maximum fine of 5,000 yuan (about US$641) if
found to be imposing gender restrictions on jobs that women are
capable of doing.
Li said although national regulation stipulates that
some heavy-labor jobs like mining are not suitable for women,
"males only" or "males preferred" restrictions have oft been abused
The restrictions are an outrageous infringement on
women's rights, Li said. However, skepticism remains as to how the
law will make much difference in practice.
Wu Changzhen, Vice President of the Beijing Women's
Federation, said that even if women apply, employers can invent
pretexts to avoid hiring them.
According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of
Labor and Social Security, over 67 percent of employers have
prevented women from applying for certain positions.
Most employers don’t hire women due to concerns over
marriage and pregnancy negatively impacting upon their job
performance, said Yang Yansui, director of the Employment and
Social Security Research Center of Tsinghua University.
It will take a lot more efforts, including regulations
and awareness campaigns, to eliminate discrimination against women,
Apart from trying to remove gender barriers in
employment, the bill includes clauses to protect women from sexual
harassment and domestic violence and is currently is under
discussion in the local people's congress.
(Xinhua News Agency January 25, 2007)