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Different retirement ages for men and women questioned
( 2003-08-25 16:19) (Agencies)

The discrepancy in retiring ages for women and men in China has been questioned by female delegates at the ninth Chinese Women's National Congress.

It is a waste that a lot of well-educated women retire at an age when they are still able to perform well at work, said Cao Suying, head of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) branch in north China's Hebei Province.

According to government rules, professional women working for government institutions and companies are required to retire at the age of 55 while men retire at the age of 60. And female blue- collar workers quit work at the age of 50 while men retire at 55.

In the early years of new China the Chinese government set different retiring ages for men and women to protect the interests of women because women were subject to the strain of bearing and rearing children.

With the development of Chinese society and improved education of women, more females have developed their own careers and do not want to quit working earlier than men.

The difference in retirement age sometimes holds women back from enjoying equal rights, said Wang Shuxian, former ACWF vice-president.

For instance, at the age of 55, a number of female doctors have to give their positions to male colleagues the same age but who do not always perform better.

To retire five to 10 years earlier than men also results in less female officials in the government, said Ni Haomei, ACWF vice president.

China's Constitution says men and women enjoy equal rights and the Chinese government has also regarded "equality between men and women" as a basic state policy.

The ACWF said it will try its best to work for an equal retirement age while the country is revising its civil service law.

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