Officials in China released a list of the top 10 gender equality-related news stories of 2017 on January 19 in Beijing.
The stories were chosen through an online poll and recommendations from a panel of judges consisting of gender study experts, senior journalists and officials from the nation's major news media outlets.
The representatives included staff from People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily News, Science and Technology Daily, Workers' Daily, China Youth Daily, Farmers' Daily, Legal Daily, China News Service, and China Women's News.
Some of the stories shed light upon national policies and laws, whilst other reports focused on innovative grassroots initiatives.
Here are the featured stories, listed in chronological order.
|The first personal protection order issued in Chengdu for a woman who claimed she was suffering violence from her cohabitant/boyfriend [China Women's News]|
1. Chengdu Issues Personal Protection Order for Cohabitation Violence
Chengdu issued its first personal protection order for a woman who claimed she was suffering violence from her cohabitant/boyfriend. The woman's attorney submitted the victim's hospital records, online chat history and photos of physical harm to the People's Court of Shuangliu District in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The court accepted the case and issued a protection order within 24 hours.
China's first anti-domestic violence law came into force on March 1, 2016, bringing domestic violence under the control of legal jurisdiction. The legislation was hailed as a milestone in the movement to protect women from physical and psychological abuse at home.
|Maternity insurance has been incorporated into basic medical insurance across 12 of China's pilot cities. [China Women's News]|
2. General Office of the State Council Issues Plan for Maternity Insurance
Maternity insurance has been incorporated into basic medical insurance across 12 of China's pilot cities, according to a draft resolution issued by the General Office of the State Council in 2017.
China plans to fine-tune its social insurance system by integrating maternity insurance, intended for women during pregnancy and childbirth, with medical insurance, as there are many areas where they overlap.
The move is the country's latest attempt to make its social security system fairer and more sustainable. Such a combination will allow those who participate in the basic medical insurance program to enjoy the benefits of the maternity insurance. The latter, therefore, will cover a larger population.
In addition, governments will be able to increase efficiency and cut costs of running the social insurance system, experts say.
|Gender equality education promoted among middle and primary schools [China Women's News]|
3. NWCCW Holds Gender Equality Education Training in SW China
The National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW) under the State Council hosted a training session on how to promote gender equality education among middle and primary schools from March 14-15 in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province.
According to the China National Program for Women's Development (2011-2020), one of the country's main goals and missions is to fully instill gender equality-related principles and ideas into various standard curriculum and teaching processes.
Concluding the successful experience on advancing gender equality education among middle and primary schools in several provinces, the NWCCW organized experts to compile a professional manual designed to conduct the program in pilot areas in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Jiangxi and Guizhou.
The advancement of gender equality in schools and on campus is necessary so that the concept becomes integrated into society, officials said.
|The government in east China's Shandong Province has specified that officials should use multiple means to protect women's rights and interests in terms of rural land registration and the issuance of verification and contract certificates. [China Women's News]|
4. E China Takes Steps to Safeguard Rural Wives' Land Rights
The government in east China's Shandong Province has specified that officials should use multiple means to protect women's rights and interests in terms of rural land registration and the issuance of verification and contract certificates.
Through the effort of authorities in recent years, the number of cases where female complainants have specified losses of their legal entitlement to land has gradually decreased since 2013, according to statistics.
Meanwhile, the relevant authorities in charge of adding family member information to land certificates has worked to help better protect women's rights under a more clearly defined system.
|A lecture at a university in east China's Jiangxi Province that included what seemed to many like discriminatory remarks against women, as well as unscientific thinking, caused a stir online. [China Women's News]|
5. Lecture on Women's Virtues Causes a Stir Online
A lecture at a university in east China's Jiangxi Province that included what seemed to many like discriminatory remarks against women, as well as unscientific thinking, caused a stir online.
The lecturer, Ding Xuan, was described as a teacher of traditional culture at China Women's United Foundation and vice-chairwoman of Hebei Provincial Traditional Culture Studies Association.
"Women wear sexy dresses in order to attract men's attention," Ding says in a video that was shared online. She added that when a man beats his wife, she should endure it in silence, and that those who are beaten often are less likely to fall ill.
However, the desire to spread such information and "learn true women's virtues" may have been dealt a severe blow. The existence of many similar classes all over China has sparked heated discussion in society, with many saying they are retrogressive and go "against gender equality."
Meanwhile, the education bureau in Fushun, northeast China's Liaoning Province, ordered a controversial institute to close after a video showing a lecturer telling female students they must be subordinate to men sparked outrage on social media.
|Beijing Women's Federation put up posters against sexual harassment in subway stations and on trains, encouraging women to speak out when they encounter sexual offence. [China Women's News]|
6. Breaking Silence, Say 'No' to Sexual Harassment
A female bus passenger in Beijing was stabbed by a male harasser last year after slapping the man and threatening to call the police. The attack raised concerns over security issues in public. Many called for severe punishment against the perpetrator, suggesting authorities mandate chemical castration and use tracking devices against such offenders.
Beijing Women's Federation put up posters against sexual harassment in subway stations and on trains, encouraging women to speak out when they encounter sexual offence.
The event aims to raise women's awareness of rights protection and urge them to defend their legal rights. The organizers also called on the public to fight against sexual harassment and create a civilized and harmonious living environment for women.
|China Women's News releases a list of words that were discriminatory against women in 2017 in order to raise the public's awareness of gender equality. [China Women's News]|
7. China Women's News Publishes Forbidden Words of Gender Discrimination
China Women's News released a list of words that were discriminatory against women in 2017 in order to raise the public's awareness of gender equality. Those words included "leftover woman", "bitch", "hooker", "loose woman", "drama queen", "mistress", "gossip woman" and "spinster", among others.
Some phrases involving gender discrimination toward men were also listed by the newspaper. The article fueled concerns and was echoed by numerous netizens in China.
|The Tianjin government organizes an online program in 2017 for its officials to learn about State law including regulations on women and children's rights protection. [China Women's News]|
8. Tianjin Launches Training Course for Women's Rights Protection
The Tianjin government organized an online program in 2017 for its officials to learn about State law including regulations on women and children's rights protection.
The officials learned about basic principles, core content and statutory forms of relief concerning women's rights protection.
The training session also highlighted President Xi Jinping's remarks made at the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, held in 2015, along with several laws designed to safeguard women and children's rights and interests. With the help of the Internet, this should be a "4a" effort, meaning anyone could study relevant knowledge anywhere, anytime, in any situation, said officials.
|The "Unisex Toilet" refers to a special facility that can be used by all family members, including different genders. [China Women's News]|
9. Toilet Revolution in China: Building Women-only WCs
The so-called "toilet revolution" first proposed by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), is an important measure to improve sanitation in developing countries across the globe.
A "third" type of public toilet refers to a special facility that can be used by all family members, including different genders.
By the end of October 2017, China had installed or renovated 68,000 toilets at tourist sites across the country, 19.3 percent more than expected.
It also plans to add or upgrade another 64,000 toilets at scenic spots between 2018 and 2020, according to an action plan issued by the China National Tourism Administration.
The national design standard on public toilets states the ratio of male to female cubicles should be at least 2:3 at toilet sites with "heavy traffic."
|The Supreme People's Court issued a judicial interpretation on the Marriage Law on January 17, clarifying the division of debt. [China Women's News]|
10. Supreme People's Court Redefines Debt in Divorces
For years, divorcing couples were jointly liable for paying off debt regardless of the person by whom it was accrued. Now, the top court has said husbands and wives should not have to pay for their partner's excesses.
The Supreme People's Court issued a judicial interpretation on the Marriage Law on January 17, clarifying the division of debt.
It defines "joint debt" as that accrued to cover family expenses such as food, clothing and medical care. However, husbands and wives can now argue that they should be exempt from repaying loans or other debts they had no knowledge of during the marriage, according to the interpretation.
In addition, a loan taken out for non-family expenses will not automatically be taken as joint debt, but if a lender demands a couple should share responsibility, they must prove the money was used for family expenses.
The interpretation advises lenders to get both husband and wife to sign loan agreements, which means the repayments will automatically be seen as joint debt.
Tang Xujun, chief of the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), commented: "The judges analyzed the realistic values and historical significance of the incidents carefully and selected relevant news cautiously." China is entering an important chapter in its gender equality history with the support of certain theories, Tang added.
Lu Xiaofei, executive director of the management committee of Women's News and Culture Fund affiliated to China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF), said: "Gender equality issues have drawn extensive attention from the public. People pay more attention to the landmark events in promoting gender equality according to the poll."
"The activity aims to promote gender equality as a mainstream issue and further incorporate the basic State policy as a priority concern during policy-making procedures," added Lu.
Sun Qianbin, chief editor of China Women's News, said: "This event has received increasing public awareness as its brand has grown bigger in recent years. This year's selection is based on four aspects: gender relevance, social influence, policy effects and the novelty factor."
The event was jointly organized by the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies under CASS, China Women's News and Women's News and Culture Fund affiliated to the CWDF.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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