|Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province became the first city in the country to implement a local regulation exclusively aimed at promoting gender equality when the Regulation to Promote Gender Equality in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) took effect on January 1, 2013. [Xinhua]|
Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province became the first city in the country to implement a local regulation exclusively aimed at promoting gender equality when the Regulation to Promote Gender Equality in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) took effect on January 1, 2013.
The regulation includes several clauses that make significant breakthroughs, including the establishment of gender equality promotion organizations and systems for gender statistics, gender analysis and assessment for policies, gender-responsive budgeting and auditing, and personal protection. It also outlaws gender discrimination, sexual harassment and domestic violence.
According to an official from the Shenzhen Women's Federation (SWF), the main drafter of the regulation, these clauses not only indicate institutional progress in promoting gender equality, but also redefine traditional ideas about gender and provide impetus to the government in making policies, implement measures and serving people’s future livelihoods.
The regulation was passed by the Standing Committee of Shenzhen SEZ People's Congress, the lawmaking body for the zone, on June 28, 2012.
Breakthroughs of the Regulation
Breakthroughs of China's first local gender equality regulation include:
1) Clarification of gender equality under the law
The regulation clarifies the meaning of gender equality from a legal perspective for the first time through its explanation of the Declaration of Mexico released at the First World Conference on Women. The declaration stipulates gender equality as equality between men and women in terms of dignity, value, opportunities, rights and responsibilities with respect to psychological differences.
Due to psychological differences between men and women, women should fight for their basic rights not only as individuals but also as women. The latter can be achieved by claiming rights related to pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding. The regulation specifically puts forward some exceptions on gender discrimination, such as temporary special measures for real gender equality, special measures to protect women for psychological reasons or during pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding. These measures are scientific and were devised after adequate consideration of men and women's psychological differences.
2) Establishment of an anti-discrimination gender system
The regulation references and develops the definition of discrimination against women in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women released by the United Nations, clarifying clearly that gender discrimination includes both direct and indirect forms. As it is often subtle and not overt, indirect gender discrimination is hard to recognize and perpetrators usually resort to professional means to carry out such discrimination.
According to the regulation, gender discrimination refers to any form of distinction, exclusion or limitation based on sex that directly or indirectly affects men and women's equal rights and interests.
The regulation also clearly clarifies forms of non-gender discrimination. It not only provides criteria for combating gender discrimination and handling gender discriminative disputes, but also pinpoints institutions suited to handling disputes. It also imposes gender equality promotion institutions with the responsibility of assisting gender discrimination victims in bringing their cases to trial. The regulation lists five methods of handling gender discrimination, setting a precedent for combating gender discrimination nationwide and filling gaps in the country's anti-gender discrimination system.
The project, Study of the Values of Gender Equality and Related Theoretical Disscussion, held a seminar in Beijing on December 18, 2013.
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