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In China, Working Mothers Say They Are Fired or Sidelined

来源:纽约时报    2019-11-04 04:49

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        The women’s accusations briefly lit up the Chinese internet. Three employees of a big Chinese logistics company said their bosses had fired them or cut their pay after they became pregnant.        这些女性的指控一度在中国互联网上引发热议。中国一家大型物流公司的三名员工说,怀孕后,老板不是让她们走人就是给她们减薪。
        In one case, the company, China Railway Logistics, did not send a representative to an arbitration proceeding. The company then went to court to challenge the award the woman received. But it backed off as media attention intensified and because the stakes were so small: The award was less than $5,000.        在一个案例中,中铁物流没有派代表参加仲裁程序。该公司随后走上法庭,对这名女性获得的赔偿提出质疑。但随着媒体关注的加大,加之金额实在太小——不到5000美元,遂放弃。
        “It isn’t worth it to waste time on this little money,” the company’s lawyer told a local reporter for a state-controlled newspaper.        “可能觉得金额小吧,不折腾这事儿了,”该公司的律师对一家官方报纸的当地记者。
        China’s leaders are encouraging women to have it all: a career and more babies. In reality, Chinese women are filing lawsuits and pursuing arbitration against employers who they claim are ignoring laws meant to keep mothers in the workplace.        中国领导人正在鼓励女性每样都不要落下:事业和更多的孩子。而实际上,中国女性正在对雇主提起诉讼和寻求仲裁,她们称雇主无视让母亲留在工作场所的法律。
        China has laws against gender and pregnancy discrimination and a maternity policy that ensures 98 days of paid leave, but enforcement is scant. Women who seek a legal remedy for mistreatment often win a pittance in compensation. They worry that a fight — any fight — will ruin their chances to find other work. And they fear retribution if they speak publicly.        中国有禁止性别歧视和怀孕歧视的法律,还有确保98天带薪产假的生育政策,但执行力度不够。因不公正的对待而寻求法律救济的女性往往只能得到微薄的补偿。她们担心一旦发生冲突,不管是怎样的冲突,都会毁掉她们再找其他工作的机会。而且,她们也害怕公开发声会遭到报复。
        In the case of China Railway Logistics, a company based in Beijing that operates 5,000 warehouses, the three women said they had were either expecting or nursing when they lost their jobs. They turned their cases into a rare coordinated action and were identified in court papers by their first initials and last names. None want to talk about it now.        以中铁物流为例,这家总部位于北京的公司经营着5000个仓库。那三名女性表示,她们失去工作时,不是在怀孕就是在哺乳。她们把自己的案子变成了一场罕见的协同行动,在法庭文件中,用的是她们的名字缩写和姓。现在她们都不愿意谈论这起案件。
        But some women, like Li Xiaoping, want to speak up. She was fired by an electronics company, she said, after disclosing that she was pregnant. “Should a woman just go back to fulfilling her traditional role as a wife and be shut out of society after giving birth?” she said.        但是李晓萍这样的女性想要说出来。她称,在透露自己怀孕后,她被一家电子公司解雇了。“女人就应该回到传统的妻子角色,生完孩子就被社会拒之门外吗?”她说。
        Ms. Li, 33, said that her former employer, Qingdao Keyrin Electronics, billed her $18,430, the equivalent of 52 months of pay. The company said it billed her for “great economic loss” and that she did not show up for work. She said that the company had locked her out.        33岁的李晓萍说,她的前雇主青岛麒麟电子向她索赔131652元,相当于她52个月的工资。该公司称,索赔是因为她给公司造成了“巨大的经济损失”。她表示,是公司不许她进厂上班。
        Ms. Li prevailed in arbitration but lost when the company appealed in court. She is fighting that and another legal dispute: the company has sued Ms. Li, her husband, a Chinese reporter and a newspaper that wrote about her case for defamation, seeking $1 million in damages.        李晓萍在仲裁中胜诉,但在公司上诉时败诉。她正在对抗这一指控,以及另一场法律纠纷:该公司起诉了李晓萍、她的丈夫、一名中国记者和一家报纸,要求获得约700万人民币的损害赔偿。
        Li Wei, the chief executive of Keyrin, disputed Ms. Li’s story, saying it was “completely inconsistent with the facts.” “In the last three years, 11 female employees have had babies,” Mr. Li said. “This is the best evidence that we treat our female employees well.”        麒麟电子的总经理李伟反驳了李晓萍的说法,称其“完全与事实不符”。“在过去三年里,公司有11名女员工生了孩子,”李伟说。“这就是我们善待女员工最好的证据。”
        It might look like the time has never been better for working mothers in China. Faced with an aging population, officials have abolished the country’s one-child policy. Some local authorities have extended maternity leaves or considered tax breaks to encourage women to have a second child.        在中国,职场母亲的日子似乎从来没有这么好过。面对人口老龄化,政府已经废除了独生子女政策。一些地方政府延长了产假或考虑减税,以鼓励妇女生二胎。
        But experts see a paradox in China’s approach. The country, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, needs more children because of its shrinking population and says it wants women to work, but it offers few incentives for working mothers. Female participation in the labor force has fallen since the 1990s, and the pay gap between women and men has widened.        但专家认为,中国的做法存在自相矛盾之处。中国是仅次于美国的世界第二大经济体,由于人口减少,它需要更多的孩子,并表示希望女性工作,但没有为职业母亲提供多少激励措施。自1990年代以来,女性在劳动力中的比例一直在下降,男女工资差距也在扩大。
        China, like the United States, does not subsidize maternity leave. Companies tend to equate leave with lost revenue: They get nothing when mothers take time off. Legal complaints filed by mothers show that local authorities did not investigate reports of bias or firings, although the country itself seems to be rethinking some workplace standards.        中国和美国一样,不补贴产假。企业往往将产假与收入损失等同起来:当母亲休假时,他们什么也得不到。母亲们提起的法律诉讼表明,地方当局没有调查有关偏见或解雇的报道,尽管国家本身似乎也在重新考虑某些工作场所的标准。
        This year, the Supreme People’s Court created a legal category called employment equality that allowed women to report gender bias. A small number of pregnant women are using that to make claims.        今年,最高人民法院设立了一个名为“平等就业权”的案由,允许女性报告性别偏见。一小部分孕妇正利用这一点提出索赔。
        “There are laws but there is no enforcement,” said Yaqiu Wang, who has researched pregnancy bias for Human Rights Watch. “If you go to labor arbitration, and you look at the composition of the committee: One is a representative from the company, one is a representative from the labor union, the third is someone from the government.”
        “有法律,但没有执行,”为人权观察(Human Rights Watch)组织研究孕期偏见的王亚秋说。“如果你去劳动仲裁,看看委员会的组成吧:一个是公司的代表,一个是工会的代表,第三个是政府的代表。”
        The discrimination often begins with the job application.        歧视通常是从求职开始的。
        It is illegal in China for employers to ask a woman about her marital status or family plans, but many companies still do. Some even force new employees to sign agreements not to get pregnant. Some women, like Liu Yang, are reconsidering the fairness of earlier demotions.        在中国,雇主询问女性的婚姻状况或生育计划是违法的,但许多公司仍然这样做。一些公司甚至强迫新员工签署怀孕协议。刘洋这样的女性,正在重新思考,早些时候遭到降职是否公平。
        Ms. Liu, 42, worked for eight years selling sanitary napkins and maternity products for Beishute, a company in Jinan. She was a deputy manager when she had her first child, in 2014, and she was demoted when she returned, she said. Her monthly pay was cut from $1,120 to $980.        42岁的刘洋在济南倍舒特公司工作了八年,销售卫生巾和孕妇用品。她说,2014年生第一个孩子时,她是副经理,回来后遭到降职。月薪从1120美元降到了980美元。
        Ms. Liu did not view it as discrimination at the time.        刘洋当时并没有意识到这是歧视。
        “I just internalized it,” she said. “I realize now that the company treated me unfairly, but I didn’t know much about the law.”        “我也就忍了,”她说。“公司对我们不公平。当时不太懂法律。”
        She said that other pregnant women were demoted, and that one was fired. When she got pregnant again, Beishute cut her pay to $630, she said. She did not receive maternity pay. She was fired within a week of returning, with the company citing unsatisfactory work.        她说,其他孕妇也遭到降职,还有一位被解雇。当她再次怀孕时,倍舒特将她的工资削减到630美元,她说。她没有得到产假工资。她回来不到一周就被解雇了,公司的理由是对她的工作不满意。
        “I felt helpless and mistreated,” Ms. Liu said. She and her husband support two children and two grandparents.        “我感到很无助也很委屈,”刘洋说。目前她和丈夫要抚养两个孩子,还要供养两位祖父母。
        She pursued arbitration, seeking $105,000 in unpaid wages, lost overtime and damages. She was awarded $25,000. She is appealing in court. Her husband, Wang Guanghui, is as determined as Ms. Liu to make the company do what they think is right.        她寻求仲裁,要求得到10.5万美元的未付工资、加班费和赔偿金。她获得了2.5万美元。她正在提起上诉。丈夫王广辉和她一样,决心让公司做他们认为正确的事情。
        “Society has laws and rules, and they cannot bully us like that,” Mr. Wang said.        “社会有法律和规则,他们不能那样欺负我们,”王广辉说。
        Beishute would not respond to questions about the case. Emails to the company went unanswered. A representative of the legal department said in a brief phone interview that the company had not fired Ms. Liu. He declined to elaborate and gave only a last name, Peng.        倍舒特不愿回应有关此案的问题。记者发给该公司的电子邮件没有回复。法务部的一名代表在简短的电话采访中说,公司没有解雇刘洋。他拒绝透露详情,只表明姓彭。
        In the 2017 case involving China Railway Logistics, a customer service manager said that her pay had been cut after she had a baby. Identified as Y.W. Wu in court filings, she sought $5,600 in compensation. She won by default after no one from the company attended arbitration. China Railway Logistics appealed in court, citing financial losses and restructuring as the reason her pay had been cut. The company, which employs 50,000 people, did not respond to requests for comment.        在2017年涉及中铁物流的案件中,一名客户服务经理表示,她在生完孩子后被降薪。在法庭文件中,她用了Y.W. Wu的名字,主张5600美元的赔偿。由于公司未派人参加仲裁,她在对方缺席状况下获胜。中铁物流在法庭上提起上诉,称经济损失和重组是她被降薪的原因。这家拥有5万名员工的公司未回复记者的置评请求。
        The three women won about $17,000 in total compensation. Huang Sha, their lawyer, said that such small payouts gave companies little incentive to obey the law.        这三名女性总共获得了约1.7万美元的赔偿。他们的律师黄沙表示,如此少的赔偿金几乎不会激励企业遵守法律。
        “Women’s rights should not just be propaganda,” he said. “The government wants to protect the company, but it also wants to encourage women to have more kids. There is a contradiction here.”        “女性权利不能只是宣传,”他说。“政府想要保护企业但是又想鼓励女性生育之间,这是有矛盾的。”
        Fan Huiling, a school security guard, was excited when she discovered, at 41, that she was pregnant for a second time. But when she asked her employer, Zhuhai Yingli Property Management, for a few days off based on a doctor’s recommendation, she was told not to return. Her belongings were left in a pile outside the school.
        She panicked. “Without this job,” she said, “I don’t have any life security.”        她惊慌失措。“没有了这份工作,”她说,“我没有了生活的保障。”
        Ms. Fan sought advice online and visited one government office after another looking for help. She eventually filed for arbitration. The next day her doctor told her she had had a miscarriage. She sued, citing the new law of employment equality.        范惠玲在网上寻求建议,并走访了一个又一个政府机构寻求帮助。她最终申请了仲裁。第二天,医生告诉她,她流产了。她以新的“平等就业权”的案由提起诉讼。
        In a brief phone interview, a Zhuhai Yingli manager disputed Ms. Fan’s accusations, saying that the company had other pregnant employees. “We don’t want to comment on this anymore,” the manager said, declining to give her full name.        在简短的电话采访中,珠海英利的一名经理反驳了范惠玲的指控,称公司还有其他怀孕的员工。“我们不想再对此事发表评论了,”该经理说,她拒绝透露全名。
        In October, a court ruled in Ms. Fan’s favor, requiring the company to pay her $2,000 — the equivalent of four months’ pay — and issue a formal apology.        10月,法院判范惠玲胜诉,要求该公司向她支付2000美元——相当于四个月的工资,并正式道歉。
        For all of the women seeking help for pregnancy bias, there are some who stay silent at work. They share their stories on the internet, and keep looking for employers who follow the law.        对于所有为怀孕歧视寻求帮助的女性而言,也有人在工作岗位上保持沉默。她们在网上分享自己的经历,并继续寻找遵守法律的雇主。
        When Li Ronghua returned to Suning Consumer Finance, an arm of the online retailer, after giving birth, she said she was criticized after leaving her desk to pump milk twice a day. In a meeting, executives cited her as an example of a bad employee for leaving without permission. The head of human resources later told her that she should quit, Ms. Li said. The company did not respond to emails and phone calls.        当李容花生完孩子后回到苏宁消费金融有限公司——在线零售商苏宁的旗下企业,她说自己因每天两次离开办公桌挤奶而受到批评。在一次会议上,高管们以她为例,说明未经允许就离开岗位的坏员工。李荣花说,人力资源主管后来告诉她,她应该辞职。该公司没有回复记者的电子邮件和电话。
        Ms. Li, 36, has since found a job at a small financial leasing company. But in job interviews, she said, she was routinely asked if she planned to have a second child.        现年36岁的李容花后来在一家小型金融租赁公司找到了一份工作。但她说,在求职面试中,她经常被问到是否打算生育二胎。
        “The weak cannot win against the strong,” she said. “I just accept it, gradually.”        “胳膊拧不过大腿,”她说。“后来也是慢慢接受了。”

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