Source: Mulan Club, China Entrepreneur
During the Two Sessions (NPC and CPPCC) this year, many of the proposals made by the delegates were related to women. Among them, the balance between a woman's career and her fertility was a particular focus. Behind these proposals and calls for greater women’s rights to a career lay a widespread prejudice and collective anxiety.
Relative to men, the job market is hostile to women, whose career span is easily interrupted. They are seen as a burden and a poor investment by their employers. Behind these hidden troubles in the job market are the repeated struggles of women forced to choose between a family or career, having a baby or getting a promotion. These are the choices that working women have to make in real life.
Why should women sacrifice either?
This year, on March 8, International Women's Day, the Mulan Club, a Chinese association for entrepreneurs, organized for 30 female entrepreneur committee members to jointly launch an initiative, calling for the construction of a "female staff-friendly enterprise" and advocating more powers to help women maintain a balance between motherhood and employment to create a female-run fertility-friendly workplace.
In August 2021, the State Council issued the 14th Five-Year Plan for Employment Promotion, proposing that an understanding of women and maternity is an important aspect of employers' social responsibility, and to encourage employers to provide employees with enough leave time and work processes.
Back in 1857, 165 years ago, an economic crisis crippled the world economy. The sluggish and chaotic economic environment caused poor working conditions and low wages to exacerbate. As a result, female workers in the garment and textile industry in New York City took to the streets to protest. For the next few years, similar protest marches took place almost every year on March 8.
This is the seed that was originally planted on International Women's Day – protesting and speaking out against harsh occupational predicaments. More than a hundred years later, the career environment and prospects for women are still plagued by inequity.
To give working women more courage to choose the life they want and maintain a better balance between their career and family, and to build a better, more equal society, female entrepreneurs have put forward the following proposals:
Ensure that female employees have access to maternity leave and maternity incentive leave.
Guarantee that breast-feeding time for new mothers will not be deducted from regular work hours.
The salaries and welfare for female employees during their lactation period shall not be reduced.
No dismissals or terminations of labor (employment) contracts due to female employees’ maternity.
Allow new mothers to adopt flexible working methods such as working from home.
Enhance emotional care for employees who have just given birth.
To create a female maternity-friendly working environment, we must take action.