Not “Women’s Day”

One of five feminist activists – detained last year for organizing public campaigns and remaining stuck in a legal limbo – took to the social media to emphasise that the “women’s day” is in fact the International Working Women’s Day. Despite the harassment – and thanks to activists and advocates like her – China’s first Anti-Domestic Violence Law was passed last year and is coming into force this month in a country where 25% of married women experience domestic violence. In spite of the progress, the challenge is monumental. China’s working class women are not only severely exploited and dominated – young rural migrants considered docile and passive by management – during the country’s export-led industrialisation, but continue to be subject to gender-based discrimination – with more than 70% of urban female employees reporting hiring and promotion discrimination in a government report, and harassment – with 70% of female factory workers surveyed having experienced sexually harassment. Undeniably bearing the brunt of China’s industrialisation, women workers are frequently at the forefront of strikes as organisers and leaders – inspiring but not surprising as women have historically played a key role in the labour movement.

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