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China issues white paper on gender equality, women’s development

Updated: Sep 22,2015 11:49 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China issued a white paper on gender equality and women’s development on Sept 22, providing a comprehensive overview of the country’s policies for women and the unremitting efforts made in this regard.

Gender equality and women’s development in China not only shows the country’s own progress, but also constitute a historical contribution made to global equality, development and peace, said the white paper, which was released to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing.

As part of the commemoration, UN Women and China will co-host a high-level global leaders’ meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment at UN headquarters on Sept 27, which will be chaired by President Xi Jinping. More than 70 world leaders are expected to make concrete commitments and firm pledges to overcome gender equality gaps.

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office, the white paper’s publisher, said releasing the document at this key moment will help the international community better understand China and enhance exchanges between China and the world.

Chinese women make up one fifth of the world’s total female population.

According to the white paper, China has progressively improved its laws and regulations, developed public policies, worked out development plans and pressed forward steadily with gender equality and women’s development.

The white paper said China has always upheld the constitutional principle of equality between men and women, which is also a basic state policy for promoting progress in the country and society.

ECONOMIC INTERESTS

China fully protects the economic interests of women, promoting women’s equal participation in economic development and equal access to the fruits of reform and development, said the white paper.

Significant progress has been made in alleviating poverty among women, it said.

To create favorable conditions for women’s employment and career development, China has also implemented policies to equalize the retirement age for female middle-ranking officials, senior professionals and technicians at state organs and public institutions. The country has pushed policies to facilitate the growth of female scientists and promote equal employment opportunities for female college graduates, it said.

China has also improved the level of social security for women, including maternity, old-age, medical, unemployment and work-related injury insurance, according to the paper.

The white paper said the number of female entrepreneurs accounts for one quarter of the total number of entrepreneurs in China, and about 55 percent of new Internet businesses are founded by women.

It said China protects the land rights of women in rural areas and women living in rural areas account for about 70 percent of the total agricultural labor force.

LIFE AND EDUCATION

The average life expectancy for women grew to 77.4 years in 2010, an increase of 4.1 years from 2000, said the white paper.

Maternal and child health services have also become more equitable and accessible in China.

The state has worked hard to improve community-level maternal and child health services and managed to provide full life-cycle health services for women, it said.

Women’s participation in decision making and management has markedly improved in China, according to the white paper.

China values the role of women in people’s congresses by improving their representation in the ranks of deputies to people’s congresses at various levels, it said.

A marked improvement has been seen in gender equality in marriages and families in China over the past 20 years. It has become the norm for husbands and wives to make family decisions together, with more than 70 percent of women taking part in major family decisions, said the white paper.

More and more women can share family resources on an equal basis with men, and the concept of men and women sharing housework is now accepted. The gap for time spent on housework between men and women shortened from 150 minutes 10 years ago to 74 minutes now, according to the white paper.

The gender gap in education has also narrowed after China implemented a special policy to ensure school-age girls enjoy equal access to compulsory education, it said.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

China has put in place a legal system for protecting women’s rights and interests and promoting gender equality, with more than 20 laws and regulations enacted and revised, the paper said.

China has also encouraged judicial action against domestic violence at the grassroots level. Professional women’s organizations, such as women judges associations, women procurators associations and women lawyers associations, have played a positive role in safeguarding women’s rights and interests, said the white paper.

In 2014, China established 3,737 legal aid institutions, providing help to 352,000 women. Compared with 2000, the number of legal aid institutions increased by 97.7 percent, and the number of women receiving legal aid increased by 310,000.

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