The Chinese authorities are urging employers to better protect their female workers through a series of recommendations and 'new rules'. There are approximately 137million female employees in China, and moves are now being made to enshrine their basic rights.
They have said that although public awareness of sexual harassment has increased in recent year, including the establishment of counselling centres, more needs to be done particularly regarding the detection and collection of evidence of such instances.
Lan Qing, the deputy director of the Women's Rights and Interests department at the All-China Women's Federation has suggested that companies should install cameras into lifts, and provide more open office space to prevent incident occurring, and make observation easier. She has also suggested that firms provide self-defence advice to female employees.
As well as urging companies to look at the protection of women 'new rules' have also been introduced. Maternity leave has been officially extended from 90 day to 98 days, and leave has been granted for women who have miscarriages. Employers are prohibited from lowering pay or dismissing workers due to pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding, and employers should reduce the workload or arrange other jobs for workers if they can not handle their original work due to pregnancy.
Any violations to the rights of women, or failure to implement the new rules will result in fines between $160-$47,600. The changes represent a dramatic move forward in the recognition of women's issues and their protection in China.