Protecting Women's Rights, Interests
To protect women's legal rights and interests, North China's Hebei Province, during the 31st Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th Municipal People's Congress (held on July 28), adopted the Regulations of Hebei on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests. The regulations, the first of the kind to be adopted by the province, took effect on September 1.
The regulations contain provisions for protecting women's legal rights and interests, especially in terms of politics, the economy, culture, education, family relations, right of person and properties, and all other spheres in social development. Thirteen of the regulations' provisions are the first of the kind in China.
The regulations also contain provisions for implementing the system of talking with employers to urge and help them correct wrongdoings that infringe women's job-related rights and interests. In accordance with the regulations, job-marketsupervisory organizations, at all levels in Hebei Province, should dispatch workers to urge and help employers, who infringe women's job-related rights and interests, to correct their "mistaken behavior" (such as refusing to hire women and raising the standards for employing women). Hebei took the lead in the country in establishing provisions to oversee the recruitment of employees for government organizations, enterprises and institutions.
The regulations stipulate that sexual harassment against women in the workplace shall be prohibited, and that penalties shall be imposed on those who violate the regulations.
The regulations also stipulate newly built or rebuilt large public buildings should have more toilet compartments for women. The buildings should also have well-equipped breastfeeding rooms. Also, work units with many women employees should establish breastfeeding rooms, crush rooms for pregnant women and other convenient facilities for women employees.
In accordance with the regulations, public places-supervisory organizations shall take measures to prevent sexual harassment against women. If a woman is harassed sexually, she may ask for help from the public place-supervisory organization. The organization shall deal with the matter immediately. Otherwise, the organization's officials should be held accountable for neglecting their duty.
In recent years, many children, especially girls, across China have become victims of sexual assault. To prevent and crack down on sexual assaults involving children, the regulations stressed kindergartens and primary and middle schools, in different areas in Hebei, should provide courses on sex education, to help children protect themselves against sexual assault.
To showcase Chinese society's care for women, the regulations also stipulate officials of governments, at all levels across Hebei Province, should help and care for women who are vulnerable (including those who are disabled, poverty-stricken and/or who live alone).
In accordance with the regulations, Hebei shall implement a mechanism for reporting offences of domestic violence to public security agencies. The regulations stipulate workers with kindergartens, primary and middle schools, welfare institutions, social-service organizations, hospitals and health centers, and villages' committees and residential zones' neighborhood committees must report offences of domestic violence to public security agencies. The regulations also stipulate Hebei's civil affairs departments and other departments should provide shelters for the victims. The regulations stress various organizations in the province should work together to promote implementation of China's Law Against Domestic Violence, which took effect on March 1, 2016.