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Gender equality in education
China Daily  Updated: 2006-03-16 05:47

Priority education for women does not help their lower social role, says a commentary in the Shanghai-based Youth Daily. An excerpt follows:

A motion on the employment of female college graduates presented to the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has aroused much attention. It suggests that schools give priority education to female students to help increase their employment rate.

Statistics indicate that there were 2.8 million college graduates nationwide in 2004, among which 800,000 had not found jobs immediately after graduation. The employment rate of female students was 8 per cent lower than that for male students. Against such a background, the CPPCC member has presented the motion out of goodwill.

But the suggestion itself is a type of gender discrimination.

From a legal perspective, priority education for female students goes against the spirit of the Constitution citizens of the People's Republic of China have the right as well as the duty to work; women in the People's Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of political, economic, cultural, social, and family life.

However, laws and regulations on equal employment for men and women have not been implemented well. Priority education is actually a compromise and even connivance to the unlawful discrimination against women in employment.

We should respect laws and regulations but not support unlawful market demand with special education for female students.

From a social perspective, discriminatory education will nurture the attitude of regarding men as superior to women. The difficulty for female students finding jobs is largely connected with this outdated mindset.

Priority education for female students is not an effective way to solve the current plight, and will boost gender discrimination in employment. The current Labour Law should be amended to enhance punishment for gender discrimination in employment and protect the rights of female graduates.

(China Daily 03/16/2006 page4)

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