Old stereotypes remain but new regulations help tackle problem
Employers continued to use discriminatory job advertisements at a major Beijing recruitment fair on Sunday, flying in the face of labor authorities' attempts to eliminate the hiring bias.
At the fair held at China International Exhibition Center, Jingye, a bearings manufacturer in Beijing, offered two positions for male candidates only.
"A secretary of the general manager would be asked to frequently accompany the manager on business trips. Our manager is male so it's inconvenient for a female employee to do the job," said Wang, a human resources employee at the company who did not give her full name.
The company was also seeking a man to fill the position of chief accountant because the job involves dealing with stress and requires frequent overtime work, she said, adding: "Men are more capable of handling pressure."
Wang conceded that the organizer of the job fair had asked employers not to use discriminatory words in job advertisements.
"We posted the job information and they (the organizer) have not noticed the words," she said.
Zhang Qiujian, director of a human resources services agency affiliated with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, which organized the fair, said they had strictly gone through the employment advertisements and deleted words that involved gender restriction.
"Our personnel would ask employers to correct the notice if they were found using discriminatory words," Zhang was quoted as saying by Beijing Youth Daily.
Some 800 enterprises attended the job fair, offering 25,000 jobs.
An advertising firm at the fair was looking for people to install advertisements at bus stops. Its advertisements clearly stated the job was for men only.
"The job requires employees to work at night. So some unexpected or unsafe things might happen if we hire women to do it," said Ren Jie, a human resources manager at the firm.
However, job seekers hold different attitudes about discriminatory job advertisements.
"It would be obvious discrimination if only men could be hired for management positions. Even though some production line jobs require strength and male workers might be more suitable, any gender discrimination is illegal," said Fu Dongfang, 28, who attended the job fair on Sunday.
Shen Jing, also 28, said at the fair: "Men and women have different physiques and logical thought capacities, so it's reasonable that employers target different genders according to the positions. I don't consider it discrimination," she said.
Beijing's human resources authority recently released a draft regulation in an aim to eliminate employment discrimination.
Employers who are proved to have discriminated during recruitment will face fines of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,800) if the draft takes effect. The draft is open to public opinion until Wednesday.
A similar regulation took effect on Jan 1 in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, to guarantee equal opportunity in the workplace.
Employers should not set gender restrictions in hiring workers, and they should not refuse to hire people or raise the threshold of employment because of candidates' gender, marital status or pregnancy, under the regulation.
Huang Yizhi of Beijing Ruifeng Law Firm said labor laws have made gender discrimination in employment illegal but they lack language on fines for violations.
"Laws also ensure labor authorities' rights to supervise law enforcement, but such supervision has been inefficient," she said.
Huang said labor authorities' efforts to design codes to fine violators could serve as a deterrent to employers and also help encourage victims to seek protection of their rights.
"The key is labor authorities' full implementation of those regulations," she added.
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