(Due to some changes, the guest lecture will be held in place of the online seminar on “Women’s Rights and Law in China”)
On 6 April 2023, the Finnish China Law Center will hold an online guest lecture on “New Women´s Protection Law in China: An Opportunity or Just a Piece of Paper?” at 14:00 – 15:30 Helsinki time.
The event will be chaired by Johanna Niemi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, with Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki, as commmentator.
The event is free and open to all. Zoom link for the event will be sent to registered participants.
We kindly ask you to register by 2 April by completing the following electronic form:
Background of the presentation
New Women´s Protection Law in China: An Opportunity or Just a Piece of Paper?
This study examines the principles of the amendments made to the Women´s Protection Law in China. It is the first time in nearly 30 years that the law on women’s protection was changed. Prior to the changes made to the legislation, activists expressed their concerns about increasing government rhetoric on the value of traditional women’s roles, and what some see as setbacks for women’s rights.
China´s official news agency Xinhua has stated that the new law “strengthens the protection of the rights and interests of disadvantaged groups such as poor women, elderly women, and disabled women”. But is it so and will China’s updated women’s rights law truly help women?
This research shows that the law still has room for improvement. One of its obvious weaknesses is how the legislation consistently addresses the rights of women in terms of the rights of men. The beginning of every section starts with the phrase women’s rights and properties should be equal to those of men. It assumes that men are the norm and women are the other.
As long as the society believes women are “the other” or mothers and wives, women are not free to be whatever they want to be. However, the amendments do try to correct and clarify some blatant problems in the previous legislation, which left poor, elderly, and disabled women without any real safety net. However, it seems that the amendments stir concerns that the law is less about independence, more about traditional roles which President Xi Jinping´s political discourse has steadily strengthened.
About the speaker
Pia Eskelinen is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Law at the University of Turku and a law teacher at Hyria Education. Her Ph.D. research focused on rural women’s rights in the Chinese society, particularly on land possession. Her latest publications include “Rural Women’s Land Use Rights in China: Acceptance and Enforceability” (Towards Gender Equality in Law: An Analysis of State Failures from a Global Perspective, 2021) and “Back to Family Values: Xi Jinping’s Embracement of Confucianism and its Effect on Chinese Women” (co-authored with Amalia Verdu Sanmartin and Johanna Niemi, Retfærd, 2022). She is currently conducting research on how Xi Jinping’s political discourse affects Chinese society, especially women. She is also interested in the overall equality situation in China and in the ways rural women’s land rights are actualized.