Seminar on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development
Event: Social Justice and Trade Unions
Achieving gender equality is a long-term goal that both China and Germany have committed themselves to. The Chinese Communist Party has put a lot of emphasis on gender equality since the establishment of the PRC, leading to comparably high standards in this area if compared with other East Asian nations. However, since the beginning of the economic reforms in the late 1970s, it became increasingly difficult for Chinese women to harmonize care work with expectations of a highly competitive labor market. Germany as well went through a long history of working towards gender equality. While there have been a lot of achievements on a judicial level – see the anti-discrimination law and the law against domestic violence – there are still a range of cultural and political factors that impede the advancement of gender equality. For instance, women are still highly underrepresented in top positions, and the political and tax framework still favors traditional family models where women are indirectly expected to do the bulk of unpaid care work. Additionally, women in both countries still face problems such as inequality in salary, discrimination on the labor market as well as domestic and sexual violence.
In order to debate these problems, the FES Beijing Representative Office invited three experts from Germany to participate in this year’s “Seminar on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development” at China Women’s University (CWU) in Beijing. The experts were Prof Dr. Eva Maria Hinterhuber (Rhein-Waal University), Dr. Regina Frey (Institute for Social Work and Social Pedagogy), and Dr. Ilse Lenz (Ruhr-University Bochum). The aim of this year’s event was to build a platform for academic exchange for Chinese and German experts on gender issues, discuss similarities and differences between both countries’ experience, and figure out applicable ways of resolution to shared problems.
The Chinese as well as the German experts all agreed upon the fact that gender inequality is still a major problem in both countries. Some areas of interest were for instance to compare the Chinese market reform with the German reunification and assess how both processes influenced gender equality. Another frequently mentioned topic was the role of gender-related research institutions in doing policy consultation.
Apart from the seminar itself, the delegation engaged in a discussion round with CWU students and held a range of other meetings with local institutions that work in gender-related areas. Among these was the Women’s Studies Institute of All-China Women’s Federation, the China Institute for Labor and Social Security and “Maple Women’s Psychological Counseling Center”.