Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Woman's right whether to have another child

By Liu Minghui (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-11 07:36

Woman's right whether to have another child

Article 16 of the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women also requires State Parties ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children.

Giving women the right to abort a pregnancy is an important progress of human civilization, and a major achievement of women's rights. It legalizes women's control over their bodies and their lives, allowing women to continue their studies and careers like men, and enables more women to enter the public sphere. It challenges the traditional patriarchal concept of separating women in either the private and public sphere.

However, there is still gender discrimination against women in the population and family planning regulations in many regions. For example, in many provinces, a couple that only has one daughter is one of the conditions that rural family applies for giving birth to a second child. But the rural family that has given birth to a son is not qualified to have a second child. Such a regulation is gender discrimination that goes against modern conception of equality of men and women.

And the proposal by a political advisor named Zhang Lihui that the maternity leave in China should be extended to three years, although it sounds like a plea to strengthen women's rights, in practice may worsen the already serious discrimination against women in employment and promotion.

The suggestion that more attention be paid to the adjustment of the population structure is of strategic significance, and it is not only necessary, but also urgent. However, we should not rely on compulsory measures to build a balanced society.

No matter whether it is under the partial two-child policy or a comprehensive two-child policy, a woman's right to decide about child birth needs to be guaranteed by the law.

The author is a law professor at China Women's University.

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