Started the first course on Gender and Human Rights at Guangzhou University
In March 2018 Dr. Si Li started the first undergraduate course on gender and human rights at Guangzhou University after participating in teacher training seminars under the auspice of NCHR partners RWI and CUPL.
Current NCHR guest researcher professor Li Si giving a presentation introducing the historical and current situation of LGBT people in China for NCHR staff and students.
In order to inspire more teachers to focus on gender equality, the NCHR cooperates with the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (RWI), the Constitutionalism Research Institute and the Human Rights Institute of China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) and Fudan University in organising several capacity building activities for Chinese university professors.
Dr. Si Li, Lecture and Assistant Researcher focusing on gender equality and non-discrimination at the Research Centre for Human Rights Guangzhou University, attended the first teacher training organised by RWI and CUPL in Bangkok in 2017. In less than a year she has set up her own course on Gender and Human Rights at Guangzhou University.
I learned a lot from the training, especially when the teachers shared their teaching experiences with setting up courses at their university, Professor Liu Xiaonan was particularly influential to me. The most important thing I learned is the importance of setting up separate courses on gender and human rights. At my university, we already have a Human Rights Law course for the legal majors, but there has never been a course from the perspective of gender, and we have been lacking discussions on the relationship between gender and the law.
This resulted in Li setting up the first elective course on gender and human rights at Guangzhou University in March 2018.
- It happened because of the conference in Bangkok. I found that there were very few teachers setting up that kind of courses at Chinese universities. Because this subject is also related to my PhD dissertation I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to lecture such a course as well as doing research to further gender equality.
Large student interest
Although the course has only been available for one semester, it has already attracted the interest of many students.
- 150 students signed up for the class, but we have quite a few additional students dropping in to listen. Because there are too many students in my class I divide them into 10 groups of 15 students each on different topics and I expect everyone to join in for the discussion and give presentations.
For comparison, Dr. Si Li explains that in general professional courses at her university attract about 30 to 40 students while elective courses about 60 students.
At the beginning, I thought that women would be more interested in this topic, but actually a lot of men from the different majors attend. I would say that the gender composition in my class is about 50/50.
The course is lectured mainly from a legal perspective, but Li explains that the students attending are from different backgrounds, anything from history, literature and language to law.
- We have many discussions on different topics. I have divided the lectures into different aspects of social life, but from a legal perspective you have to focus on the current legal situation – for instance how women’s rights are protected or how they are not equally enjoying their rights, says Li.
What is your impression of how the students experience the course?
- When it comes to the end of a semester all the students have to give their scores on the course subjects and the teachers, and the course got a very high assessment. It scored about 95%, and I believe this implies that the students are interested in the topic.
NCHR guest researcher
Professor Si Li is currently a guest researcher under the auspice of the NCHR International Department at the University of Oslo and intends to bring back some of the perspectives she has gathered during her stay.
I have benefited enormously from my stay here. First of all because I have access to important and reliable academic materials, especially when gathering information about Norway and Norwegian legislation. Secondly I have had the opportunity to listen to different opinions from the locals on what is happening, and that means a lot to me.
In September Professor Si Li finished an article on the situation for China's LGBT people and community. She is currently working on a comparative study of China and Norway's legal and policy framework for the promotion of equality and non-discrimination to be published later this year.