Elaine Lu’s Year in Reflection

In our latest Year in Reflection, we posed the questions to Elaine Lu from Solidar Suisse, Asia.

What is one labour issue that isn’t given enough attention?

There has been an overwhelming interest and focus on the platform economy, especially in relation to ride hailing and food delivery. But other types of platform jobs are overlooked. For instance, in China there are extremely precarious forms of platform employment such as live streaming and “click farming”.

For live streamers, women dance, sing or flirt with the audience, and they earn income from the audience who may donate or send money to them. “Click farming” is based on essentially manipulating the algorithms in social media, as workers are employed to like, share and comment on social media accounts and posts to boost the popularity of influencers.

It will be interesting to see more research in these areas of work, which are jobs taken up predominantly by women but are generally less known not only in China but across the region and understand concretely the impact of the work on women’s rights.

Interesting trend for 2023?

The #Metoo movement gained a lot of steam in recent years in Asia.

As in previous years, more and more individuals coming forward. At the same time, this year, there have been revisions and the passing of laws prohibiting sexual harassment: China revised its law regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination; and, Malaysia also passed an anti-sexual harassment bill this year.

And perhaps we’ll see even more changes to the legal framework related to sexual harassment in countries across the region in the coming year. But unfortunately, many of these laws are not without criticisms, as they do not go far enough to ensure that women are adequately protected, and women still face a number of hurdles in coming forward and claiming damages.

The question is what’s next? How do we understand the barriers to preventing sexual harassment, and how do we overcome them to ensure systemic change for women at the workplace so that they are protected more effectively against sexual harassment?