The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) vowed on Monday to form a female employees' committee under every trade union. The announcement was made prior to International Women's Day.
The ACFTU planned to establish committees of female employees under at least 85 percent of trade unions across the country this year, said Zhang Shiping, vice chairman of the ACFTU, at a press conference in Beijing.
The ratio will be raised to 95 percent in 2012 and 100 percent in 2013, he said.
Currently, about 77.61 percent of trade unions in China have committees of female employees.
The ACFTU hoped that through female employees committees, more working women can express their requests and protect their rights through trade unions, Zhang said.
Another way to protect the rights of female employees is to help more of them sign collective contracts that are specially designed for them.
Besides the general terms in employment contracts, the contract for female workers would recognize the special rights of women such as maternity leave, equal pay and equal opportunity for promotions against male counterparts.
In the next three years, the ACFTU will push all of its trade unions to help female members sign such collective contracts, said Li Binsheng, a senior ACFTU official, at the same conference.
By the end of last year, about 54 million female employees working in 1.24 million companies had signed such collective contracts with employers. ' "Fewer female employees in small businesses and private companies have signed the contracts. The ACFTU will spend more efforts on these employers," Li said.
The ACFTU also launched a program to help needy female employees this month. It had arranged a fund of 40 million yuan (5.88 million U.S. dollars) as financial assistance for low-income working women, particularly single mothers and female migrant workers.
According to the records of the ACFTU, about 1.49 million women are low-income employees, among whom 285,000 are single mothers and 170,000 are migrant workers.
On the same day, the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) also held a ceremony to honor outstanding working women.
ACWF President Chen Zhili urged women's organizations to work hard to protect women's rights and lobby for their interests.