The fight of a Chinese single mother

6 days ago

Photo credit: SupChina illustration

The life of a single mother can be challenging anywhere in the world, but the hurdles are especially high for single Chinese mothers. Obstacles include:

  • Denial of access to assisted reproductive technology such as IVF and egg freezing.
  • Extraordinary difficulty in obtaining a residency permit, also known as a hùkǒu (户口), for their children.
  • Inability to claim maternity benefits because current law stipulates that applicants need to present family-planning certificates — but unmarried mothers sometimes cannot obtain these papers.

One mother in Shanghai, Zhāng Méng 张萌, is now challenging the law on maternity benefits, and has filed a lawsuit against the Shanghai Social Insurance Management Center. In the first legal case of its kind in China, Zhang is seeking around 50,000 yuan ($ 7,000) as salary compensation for five months of maternity leave.

The upshot: After Zhang lost three previous lawsuits over two years, her case has now reached the Shanghai Supreme People’s Court.

Click through to SupChina to read more about Zhang’s case.

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