Shenzhen Passes China’s First Anti-Gender Discrimination Law
Aug. 23 –The Standing Committee of the Fifth People’s Congress of Shenzhen Municipality passed the “Regulation of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on the Promotion of Gender Equity (Announcement  No.89, hereinafter referred to as ‘Regulation’)” on June 28, 2012, effective as of January 1, 2013. The law is the first of its kind in Mainland China to ensure gender equality.
Highlights of the Regulation are as follows:
Defining ‘gender equity’
The Regulation defines the meaning of gender equality for the first time from the legal perspective, based on the definition of gender equality in the ‘Declaration of Mexico.’ According to the Regulation, gender equality refers to the same esteem, value, opportunities, rights and responsibilities enjoyed by both males and females.
Establishing the anti-gender discrimination system
The Regulation defines gender discrimination as any distinction, exclusion and restriction made on the basis of gender which has the effect or purpose of damaging the equal rights and interests of men or women directly and indirectly.
As indirect gender discrimination is hard to define, the people who commit indirect discrimination usually get away with punishment by using the nature of their professions and special needs as defense, thus the Regulation has specified the nature and scope for justifications.
Implementing the gender statistics system, gender analysis and assessment system, and gender budget system
The Regulation makes clear the establishment of a gender statistics system, gender analysis and assessment system and gender budget system, as implementation of the above three systems is of great significance to the analysis of women’s statues, as well as the fair and efficient distribution of public resources.
Imposing punishment on employers setting up gender restrictions on recruitment
According to the Regulation, employers setting up gender requirements in recruitment will be punished (unless it is provided by law). Employers who have broken this regulation and refuse to ratify the conduct within designated time will be fined from RMB3,000 to RMB30,000.
Increasing the practicality of anti-sexual harassment
A survey conducted by the Shenzhen Women’s Federation in 2010 shows that 33 percent of women have been sexually harassed in Shenzhen. The regulation aims to fight sexual harassment by punishing sexual harassment, promoting anti-sexual harassment education and reporting sexual harassment behaviors.
Strengthening public intervention to domestic violence
According to a survey conducted by the All-China Women’s Federation, among 270 million families, 30 percent suffer from domestic violence and the victims are mostly women. In order to effectively prevent domestic violence, the Regulation empowers women who are suffering from or threatened with domestic violence, to apply to the court for orders to protect personal safety or to constraint the abusers’ behaviors, thereby prohibiting the abusers from proximity.
Establishing organization to promote gender equality
Based on the legislative experience of western countries, Hong Kong and Taiwan and the realities in Shenzhen, the Regulation aims to establish a gender equality organization to supervise and assess the city’s efforts in gender equality, as well as to coordinate with other government departments to collect gender statistics and allocate budgets.
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