Legislation aimed at giving women in China more protection against gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work was submitted to China’s parliament on Thursday after a third revision and extensive public input.
The revised legislation comes as activists have expressed concern about increasing government rhetoric on the value of traditional women’s roles and what some see as setbacks for women’s rights and more restrictive attitudes towards abortion. But, it is not clear to what extent those more conservative attitudes will be reflected in the revised law.
It is the first time in nearly 30 years that the law on women’s protection is being revised. The draft “Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law” was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the official Xinhua news agency said.
The latest draft has not been released to the public but tens of thousands of people sent in suggestions for what they would like to see in it, the NPC said on its website.
Xinhua said the draft “strengthens the protection of the rights and interests of disadvantaged groups such as poor women, elderly women, and disabled women”.
Employers will be held to account if women’s labour and social security rights and interests are violated while obstructing the rescue of trafficked and kidnapped women will be specified as an offence. The responsibility of local authorities to rescue trafficked and abducted women will also be set out, Xinhua said.