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China Introduces Amendments To Women’s Security Laws To Prevent Workplace Harassment

Now, workplaces can neither ask women if they are married or pregnant nor can they force anyone to take a pregnancy test.

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These long-awaited have been introduced after the recent #MeToo movement in China where hundreds of women reported instances of workplace sexual harassment. The Chinese government prepares to take strict steps and work towards ensuring a better workplace environment and meeting gender equality standards.

With the new amendments in place, workplaces can neither ask women if they are married or pregnant nor can they force anyone to take a pregnancy test. CCTV, the Chinese Government’s Publicity Channel, reported that these amendments are most likely to be passed on Friday.

The amendments further state that prioritizing candidates based on gender will not be permitted, and any female staff being restricted from getting married or having children will be deemed illegal. Additionally, these amendments will criminalize actions such as sexual connotation against one’s will, inappropriate bodily behavior, sharing of explicit images without consent, and also mention of benefits against intimate relationships. The law will also seek to clearly define what counts as inappropriate behavior at workplaces.

China ranks quite low in terms of gender equality, 107th amongst 153 countries. Most top layers of business and politics are dominated by men, and the Chinese Communist Party has only one woman in its Politburo. Looks like the country has a long way to go in terms of bringing forth gender equality.

After the #MeToo movement that took off last year where a female student accused her professor of being sexually inappropriate with her, the entire country erupted in protests demanding better sexual harassment laws. Another case that added fuel to the fire was when the plaintiff was considered innocent in a high-profile sexual harassment case.

Will these new laws be able to curb the rampant sexual harassment in workplaces across China? Only time will tell.

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