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Upon completing a 144-day walk from Beijing to Guangzhou, a group of young feminist activists called on the Guangdong Provincial Department of Education to establish a sexual assault prevention mechanism in schools. In addition, the activists proposed four ‘Sexual Assault Prevention Tips’. Photo: A Shan/Gender and Media Action Group

Women not only account for the majority of the population in mainland China that lives in poverty, but statistics also show an upward trend. Gender inequality and gender-based violence remains widespread, which highlights the vulnerability of women and other disadvantaged groups during this period of social transformation in mainland China. Through a comprehensive approach, direct services, community develop, public education, policy advocacy and other initiatives, Oxfam has been standing against gender-based violence, empowering women, raising awareness about gender equality and fighting for gender justice.

 

National Anti-Domestic Violence Legislation Passed

The Anti-Domestic Violence Law was passed by the China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in December 2015 and will come into effect on 1 March, 2016. As the first Anti-Domestic Violence Law in China, it covers cohabiting relationships, defines psychological abuse as domestic violence, accepts personal protection order applications by a third party and punishes those who fail to report and/or follow up with domestic violence cases. The passing of this law reflects public opinion, which was expressed in two consultations that were held in the past, and the efforts of women organisations as well as their solid research and proactive advocacy work. Furthermore, the law marks an important milestone for the women who strived for more than 10 years to have this law passed.

Oxfam has been supporting domestic violence intervention since 1999. Our strategy has evolved from focusing on direct services to an carrying out our work through an integrated approach that combines direct services, capacity building services, collaboration across sectors in the community, public education and policy advocacy. For over 10 years, we have promoted anti-domestic violence as well as the introduction and improvement of local anti-domestic violence legislation. In order to push for such legislation, we supported the establishment of ‘anti-domestic violence legislation advocacy working groups’ among various local organisations. We also helped people affected by domestic violence, especially marginalised groups ‒ including rural women, migrants and sexual minorities ‒ to make their voices heard and participate in the legislation process through topical research, seminars attended by people from various sectors, media salons and the sharing of good practices. Several in depth and specific proposals were submitted, thus galvanising influential persons to lobby and advocate for gender sensitivity, and the prevention and control of domestic violence.

 

Publication of Chinese Women’s Development in 20 Years - Policy Research in Gender Justice Perspective

With Oxfam Hong Kong’s support, this book was published by our partner Gender and Development in China (GAD) in November 2015. It reviews the achievements and challenges of gender justice in the past 20 years since the Beijing World Conference on Women was held. Analysis of policies and regulations related to the development of women was conducted from the perspectives of policy formulation, implementation and their impacts. We advocated for the introduction and implementation of policies on gender equality, and comprehensively analysed the achievements and shortcomings of regulations as well as gender discrimination, blindness, neutrality and sensitivity of policies.

The research covered 13 thematic areas, includingf women and poverty, education, health, violence, the economy, girls and aging. Its findings supplement mainstream policy research, which ignores the gender justice perspective, and thus helps advance the inclusion of the perspective in all aspects of related policies.

   

2015 Learning and Exchange Forum of ‘Rural Women Resource Center’, Beijing

Through Oxfam’s support, our partner Beijing Cultural Development Center for Rural Women held an annual learning and exchange forum in Beijing, in which 80 leaders and core members from 34 centres nationally participated. The forum focused on gender equality, the management of the Resource Center and the anti-domestic violence activities held during the week of International Women’s Day. Training sessions on advanced domestic violence intervention, and community project design and management were also offered. The participants exchanged their experience of applying for small community grants and expressed their desire to continue pushing for gender equality in rural areas.