Civil service job postings reinforce gender preferences . . .
A report by Chinese news outlet The Paper found that more than 35 per cent of civil service postings in China express a preference for hiring men. The percentage of public sector job listings restricting applicants by gender also increased from only one per cent in 2017 to 25 per cent for intake in 2021. These findings come despite a Supreme Court ruling in January affirming that government agencies cannot discriminate in hiring based on gender. Over 1.5 million candidates – an increase of four per cent over last year – sat the recent Chinese civil service examinations, as job security concerns and declining private sector employment prospects mount due to COVID-19.
New divorce ‘cooling-off period’ rule to start January 1 . . .
Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs issued concrete details for the implementation of a divorce ‘cooling-off period’ stipulated in China’s new Civil Code passed in May. After January 1, couples who file a joint application for divorce must wait 30 days before receiving official approval, with either party able to withdraw the application during that time. Divorce arising from domestic violence lawsuits are not subject to the waiting period. The new policy is meant to dissuade couples seeking divorces “recklessly or impulsively,” as the country’s divorce rate rises while its marriage rate falls. Critics worry the policy will make it more difficult for domestic abuse victims to leave marriages in cases when filing formal legal proceedings can be dangerous for the victim.
A broader trend of COVID-19 exacerbating existing inequalities . . .
The economic impacts of COVID-19 are intensifying gender inequality issues in China. According to gender advocacy groups, more than 90 per cent of China’s domestic violence cases from the first half of 2020 were linked to the national lockdown, while monthly case reports doubled over last year. These trends are not unique to China, as numerous studies demonstrate an increased burden on women and a spike in domestic abuse cases around the world due to the pandemic. However, they remain significant given China’s fall to 106th place in the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap rankings last December, a statistic that will likely influence China’s discussions on equitable post-pandemic recovery.