Women’s rights in China, India

// 23 August 2005

China is revisiting its 13 year old legislation on gender equality, it emerged today.

While this can only be a good thing in a country which still lacks legal protection against domestic abuse, the wording of this announcement is a little off. Gu Xiulian, a senior Chinese legislator and president of China’s main women’s rights group the All-China Women’s Federation, said that the move towards equal rights was justified by women’s contribution to the modernisation programme.

Silly me for thinking equal rights had something to do with people being inherantly, well, equal.

In India, women have gained equal rights of inheritance. At the same time, feminist texts are being translated into English for the first time.

Meanwhile, in the United States the debate continues over the contraversial appointment of men to key feminist or women’s rights positions, as the oldest shelter in New England advertises for an executive director.

Transition House has already hired a man to fill the post in the short term, and is conducting a “gender-neutral” search for someone to take the role on permanantly.

As well as bringing up the longstanding, contentious issue of the role of men in the women’s movement, this has triggered fresh concerns because of the sensitivity of the post as it goes against the stated aim of the organisation to provide a safe, man-free place for women and children who have experienced violence.

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