Women's retirement may be delayed

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China's labor authority is working on the issue of possibly pushing back the retirement age of women "with caution", according to a report from the top legislature.

Female workers produce clothing for export to Southeast Asia at a garment factory in Huaibei city, Anhui province, on Feb 22.

Female workers produce clothing for export to Southeast Asia at a garment factory in Huaibei city, Anhui province, on Feb 22.

The document, which was issued by the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, says the possible change to women's retirement age may be done alongside other improvements to the rights of working women.

The NPC Standing Committee carried out an inspection tour last year as it explored the issue.

The document said the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security will "carefully look into the issue of women's retirement age and strengthen the training of women by taking the interests of different groups into account".

According to current regulations, regular female workers retire at 50 while female public servants retire at 55. Men retire at 60.

Qi Shujuan, a media officer from the All-China Women's Federation, told China Daily on Monday that it would like to see a more flexible system in which women can decide when they want to retire within an upper age limit.

Qi said the federation has been promoting women's labor rights in connection with the retirement issue for more than 10 years.

"But the work is difficult since the current regulations are interconnected and women's interests are also varied according to their social status."

Chen Fang, a professor of women's studies at China Women's University, said making the retirement age the same for men and women was "a matter of human rights" and noted the age should change in line with social development and the development of women.

"The latest move showed the government has begun to pay attention to the issue, although substantial change is still up in the air," Chen said.

"China should make better use of female talent by enhancing women's social status and bridging the gap in the retirement age between men and women," said Liu Bohong, vice-director of the Women's Studies Institute of China, at a forum in December.

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