Women’s labour force participation rates have traditionally been high in Chinese society but women of all income groups continue to face employment discrimination. Female university graduates have difficulties finding quality jobs, and women remain seriously under-represented at higher job levels in the public and private sectors. Traditional gender stereotypes assign family responsibilities almost exclusively to women, who are also expected to earn income. These attitudes permeate the family, the workplace and society and are deeply entrenched in labour institutions.
Since 2001, the ILO, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), the China Employers Confederation (CEC), the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) have cooperated on enhancing the gender mainstreaming capacity of ILO constituents and women’s organizations. Initial rounds of local research, awareness raising and training led to a gradual shift from attention to “women-only” concerns to more emphasis on gender and institutional change processes and to addressing gender inequalities at work.
Over the past 2 years, the ILO has assisted its constituents with putting the ratified Convention No. 111 into practice through a project funded by the Government of Norway. The project aims at building capacity on concepts and strategies for combating employment discrimination and supporting the application of China’s labour laws at national and provincial levels.
ILO constituents have focused on gender mainstreaming in employment and labour policies and programmes, women’s enterprise development among vulnerable groups, pay equity, the reconciliation of work and family, maternity protection, and the protection of domestic workers. Nonetheless, considerable challenges remain in addressing the multiple forms of discrimination faced by women workers.
The project will build on earlier achievements of the MOHRSS, CEC, ACFTU, ACWF and ILO cooperation in promoting and monitoring gender equality in the world of work in China and at the international level. Priority target groups of the project are vulnerable groups of workers who face multiple forms of employment discrimination on the grounds of sex, ethnicity, migrant status or health.
Training and technical assistance will be provided on:
- The application of the fundamental principles and rights at work, in particular the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No.111) and Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No.100), both of which have been ratified by the Chinese Government;
- The promotion of principles laid down in the Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981 (No.156) and the extension of labour protection to women workers in informal employment, such as domestic workers;
- Gender mainstreaming in labour institutions, employment promotion and enterprise development policies and programmes including SMEs; and
- The development and pilot implementation of practical measures to redress gender inequalities. These may include guidelines for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies or campaigns, guidelines to prevent sexual harassment at work, policies and tools on women’s enterprise development.
For further information please contact:
Ms Huang Qun
Senior Programme Assistant
ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia
Tel: +86 10 6532 5091