China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee approved amendments to the country’s Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law during its 37th session, as reported by Xinhua on October 30. The amended law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2023, aims to protect women’s lawful rights and interests, promote gender equality in politics, economics, workplace, and society, prevent and stop sexual harassment and domestic violence, and protect the rights and interests of the disadvantaged female group. The law further requires local employers to provide equal employment opportunities for women and men, as well as assign to local authorities the responsibility to take timely measures to rescue abducted and trafficked women. Women also enjoy the equal right to vote and to stand for election.
Among the five legislative bills that return for further review in this session, the proposed revision of the Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law garnered the most public attention. The revised draft has been publicly solicited for opinion twice, and the government received more than 700,000 comments in total, according to the NPC website. The passing of the amendments marks the first time in nearly 30 years that the Chinese government revised the women’s protection law.