Contractors must avoid such practices as asking women about marital status and attitudes towards pregnancy and childbirth.
Beijing municipal government banned by law all gender discriminatory hiring practices, a measure which aims at boosting women's job opportunities, Chinese media Xinhua reported Thursday.
"Although the Chinese women's labor rate participation is among the highest in the world, they still face difficulties in finding a job because sex discrimination in recruitment," said a policy document issued by the Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.
According to the new ordinance, companies must not include discriminatory gender-related requirements in their job offers or interviews. Neither will contractors be allowed to ask women about their marital status or attitudes towards motherhood. Birth-related preconditions and pregnancy tests in recruiting processes are forbidden too.
Fines ranging from US$1,450 to US$7,270 will be applied to companies that violate these regulations or refuse to correct their bad practices. Authorities may also revoke licenses of human resources companies in case of "serious crimes."
A 2017 poll, carried out by a local human resources company, revealed that more than 80 percent of Chinese working women considered that there was sex discrimination in their jobs, while another 70 percent admitted feeling intimidated by male bosses.
Although the Chinese authorities have made important efforts to reduce discrimination, gender equality is far from being achieved in the country. For many women remain accustomed to working at home and staying away from economic and political top positions.
On Feb. 21, China’s Human Resources and Social Security Ministry also issued new nation-wide policies on recruitment practices to promote female employment. They stipulate that employers may not impose restrictions on a candidate’s gender or prioritize candidates based on gender.
"Employers with a gender discrimination complaint lodged against them could face a government inspection. If the employer refuses to cooperate with the government’s interview or refuses to rectify the discriminatory behavior after the interview, the government would publicize the employer’s discriminatory conduct in the media," according to a report by the Asia Business Law Journal.