Opinion / From the Press

For gender equality in job market

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-03 08:34

With about 7.27 million college students expected to graduate this year, the competition in the job market will be fiercer. Moreover, female graduates are likely to face greater gender discrimination because many employers prefer male candidates to fill the vacant posts, says an article in Chongqing Morning Post. Excerpts:

Although the government has for long been promoting gender equality in education, women are still discriminated against in the job market. Many employers tend to shun woman candidates to avoid incurring the cost of giving them paid maternity leave in the future.

Of course, the government's supervision department can impose tough penalties on companies that discriminate against women. But that may not necessarily end gender discrimination in the job market. Considering the fact that employers are part of China's market-oriented economy, we cannot blame them for pursuing maximum profit by ignoring female candidates for hiring.

To overcome the problem, therefore, the government has to introduce policies to grant some financial benefits to companies hiring women who are yet to become mothers. In Sweden, for example, a pregnant woman can take maternity leave seven weeks before the expected date of delivery and rejoin work 18 months after her child is born, during which time she gets subsidies from the government. And in Norway, new mothers can get 47 to 57 weeks' paid maternity leave because the government bears the cost.

Better welfare is supported by higher tax. So China should not simply copy the policies of Western countries. Instead, it should implement comprehensive policies to end the discrimination against women in the job market.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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