It was announced on February 21st that an official “notice” on promoting women’s employment was published jointly by nine Chinese government departments, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Education. The notice lays down specific and detailed rules on the protection of women’s employment and workplace gender equality. The day after the notice came out, “not asking women about marriage and childbirth during recruitment” became the most searched topic on Weibo, arousing extensive attention and discussion.
The notice is composed of eight parts and has three main features. First of all, it clarifies the criteria for identifying gender discrimination in employment. Secondly, it provides three hotlines for reporting and complaining about workplace gender discrimination. Thirdly, it requires the collaboration of the nine departments to promote equal employment opportunities for women.
It is generally acknowledged that gender discrimination still exists in recruitment, in spite of the laws protecting women’s rights in employment. Therefore the notice, with its detailed regulations on gender discrimination in recruitment, is aimed at guaranteeing the implementation of the measures to promote women’s employment. It not only requires to strengthen the supervision of the human resource market, but also establishes a judicial remedy mechanism to provide legal consultancy services and help for female victims of gender discrimination in employment.
It also sends a positive signal on gender equality, which will help to relieve the anxiety of women in the workplace and encourage employers to make more reasonable recruitment plans. The notice also focuses on the employment of female college students, pointing out that according to the latest statistics around 50% of undergraduates and master students in universities are women, so making good use of high-quality female human capital will have a profound impact on the development of enterprises in the long term.