The whole point of China’s much examined cellular key word ban was ostensibly to weed out sexual harassment, so it’s nice to know that at least Guangzhou’s taking steps to follow that ban up with something actually substantial. Rewriting unwelcome sexts (and lewd photographs) into their sexual harassment law is but one of several new features it’s taking to strengthen its 13-year-old regulation protecting workers from their gross bosses.
Says China Daily:
“Sexual harassment of women through language, words, physical contacts, graphics or electronic information is forbidden,” reads the new amendment to the city’s current 13-year-old regulation.
The amendment to the Regulation on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women in 2005 added that women could file civil lawsuits against anyone who is sexually harassing them…
The city’s amended regulation on the protection of women’s interests and rights requires employers to take concrete steps to protect employees who are suffering from sexual harassment.
For example, an employer will be required to change an office’s wooden door to a transparent glass door, if any of its staffers report to have been sexually harassed in that office. [Ed note: I wonder if this will, at least at first, make women wonder about any boss who happens to have an office with a glass door – would it be like carrying a perv medallion?]
It will also be required that victims of sexual harassment be moved from the department that the suspect heads, said Li Jianlan, president of the Guangzhou municipal women’s federation.
“Although it is difficult to get evidence of sexual harassment, when we receive a complaint from a female worker, whether it is true or not, we can require the employer to take measures to stop it and prevent it,” Li told the media on Wednesday.
The company involved in such a case, upon receiving a letter from the federation on safeguarding women’s rights, must reply in a timely manner and take action, she said.
Whether this will make women in the workplace come forward is highly debatable, China Daily points out – a similar Shanghai regulation that came into effect in April 2007 had been all but ignored until last year – but having specific guidelines in the law is always a welcome first step.
And besides, it seems like, despite the “losing face” and “public humiliation” aspects do change if the Shanghai local federation’s complaint hotline is finally getting a call or two. It takes a while to change culture, but it’ll never happen if the right motivations aren’t already in place.