Editor's Note: The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China published a white paper titled Equality, Development and Sharing: Progress of Women's Cause in 70 Years Since New China's Founding.
The white paper, titled "Equality, Development and Sharing: Progress of Women's Cause in 70 Years Since New China's Founding," was released by the State Council Information Office.
The founding of the PRC in 1949 ushered in a new era for women in China, changing their social status from an oppressed and enslaved group in the past thousands of years to masters of their own fate, the white paper said.
As the Chinese nation is rising and growing richer and stronger, Chinese women's social status has undergone enormous changes, it said.
"The great achievements China has made in the development of women's cause is attributed to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC)," said Huang Xiaowei, vice president of the All-China Women's Federation, at a press conference.
The progress made by Chinese women led by the CPC is not only of considerable significance to China's national rejuvenation but also a notable contribution to human civilization progress, Huang said.
As China's development has entered a new era, promoting gender equality and women's overall development at a higher level not only meets opportunities but also has a long way to go, the white paper said.
Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China will always adhere to safeguarding and improving women's livelihoods, promote women's all-round development, and lead hundreds of millions of women in working for national rejuvenation, it said.
More working women
China has promulgated laws and regulations to fully protect women's economic rights and interests, especially the right to equal employment, ensuring equal pay to men and women for equal work and eliminating gender discrimination in employment, the white paper said.
Women account for 40 percent of the labor force in China. In 2017, there were 340 million working women, doubling the figure in 1978.
Women's job options have greatly expanded. In 2010, 46.8 percent of women worked in industry and service sectors, up 24.8 percentage points from 1982.
Higher political status
China has drawn up and implemented laws to guarantee that women share equal rights with men to vote, to be elected, and to participate in the administration of state affairs, the white paper said, adding that over the past four decades since the reform and opening-up, new opportunities and channels have been opened to women to participate in politics.
In 2017, women accounted for 52.4 percent of public servants newly-recruited by the central government organs and their affiliates, and the proportion was 44 percent among local governments.
The ratio of women deputies to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) was 24.9 percent, 12.9 percentage points higher than that of the first NPC in 1954.
More educated women
Chinese women's education level has been dramatically lifted over the past seven decades, according to the white paper.
The illiteracy rate among females aged 15 and above dropped from 90 percent before the founding of the PRC to 7.3 percent in 2017, which was a historic change.
The gender gap in the nine-year compulsory education has been basically eliminated. In 2017, the net primary school enrollment rates of boys and girls were both 99.9 percent while the proportions of girls in primary schools and junior high schools were 46.5 percent and 46.4 percent respectively, 18.5 and 20.8 percentage points higher than those in 1951 respectively.
In 2017, the gross high school enrollment rate was 88.3 percent, with girls accounting for 47.7 percent of all students in high schools.
Meanwhile, women accounted for 52.5 percent of students in regular institutions of higher education, 28.4 percentage points higher than in 1978, 32.7 percentage points higher than in 1949.
Women's health has further improved in China. Women's average life expectancy grew to 79.4 years in 2015, an increase of 10.1 years over 1981 and 42.7 years over 1949, according to the white paper.
The maternal mortality rate has fallen 79.4 percent from 88.8 per 100,000 in 1990 to 18.3 per 100,000 in 2018, meaning that China has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of time.
Following is the full text:
I. Women's Cause Remains High Priority and Is Actively Promoted in China
II. The Legal System for Protection of Women's Rights Constantly Improved
III. Women's Role in Economic and Social Development Becoming Increasingly Prominent
IV. Women's Political Status Has Grown Significantly
V. Women's Education Level Has Risen Significantly
VI. Women's Health Condition Has Improved Dramatically
VII. Social Security for Women Continues to Improve
VIII. Women Play Unique Role in Cultivation of Family Virtues
IX. Women Taking Part in Extensive International Exchanges and Cooperation Activities
In the entire course of history, the liberation and progress of women have been indispensable to the liberation and progress of mankind. Since its inception, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been struggling for women's liberation and gender equality. The founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 ushered in a new era for women in China, changing their social status from an oppressed and enslaved group in the past thousands of years to masters of their own fate.
In recent 70 years, women's cause in China has been closely connected to the general growth of the CPC and the whole nation. Under the leadership of the CPC, the past few generations of women have contributed greatly to social construction, reform, and development. As the Chinese nation is rising and growing richer and stronger, Chinese women's social status has undergone enormous changes.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, there has been a firmer belief in the future of women development based on Chinese socialism among Chinese women. In this background, women are able to exercise their democratic rights, participate in economic and social development, and benefit from the outcomes of reforms and development on an equal and legal basis. As masters of the nation, women now can find the best ways to fulfill themselves while gaining increasing senses of achievement, happiness, and safety, as witnessed by the historic accomplishments they have made so far.
This white paper is issued specifically to the achievements of women's cause in the past 70 years since New China was founded fully known to the whole world.
I. Women's Cause Remains High Priority and Is Actively Promoted in China
Boosting the comprehensive development of women and achieving gender equality have been perceived as important components of the socialism system with Chinese characteristics. China has always attached great importance to such development and equality. Among the concrete measures taken so far to accomplish these goals are reinforced CPC guidance for women's work, creation and improvement of women's rights protection legislations by the National People's Congress, establishment of practical mechanisms in favor of women's cause by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), setup and improvement of government working systems for implementation of national gender equality policies, and enhancement of the role of the Women's Federation as a bridge between the CPC, the government and the mass of women. Together these measures provide solid political and systematic assurance for the development of women's cause.
The CPC has made earnest and persistent efforts in leading and improving the work concerning women in the past 70 years. With women's cause as an important part of its undertaking, the CPC has been striving toward women's liberation and gender equality. In the 12 sessions of the National Women's Congress concluded thus far, guidelines for women movement and work as well as main pertinent tasks were worked out in line with general CPC and government policies for nationwide implementation of relevant plans. With the coming of the new era, the CPC is now leading women's work more devotedly. "Adhering to the fundamental national policy of gender equality, and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women and minors" were enshrined in the reports of the 18th and 19th CPC National Congress, and accepted as key concepts and parts of the CPC's governance and administration plans. The first conference on improving mass organizations organized by the CPC Central Committee in 2015 determined a direction for the work concerning women in the new era by showing how to promote reforms of the Women's Federation and how to make the organization and work of Women's Federation more politically responsive, up to date, and geared to the demands of the masses. For the CPC, women's cause always plays a significant role in Chinese reform, opening-up, and modernization. Full consideration has been given to actual gender differences and special interests of women in legislation, policy-making, planning, and policy implementation. There are also ongoing efforts in improving a legal system for protecting women's rights and building a firm legal foundation for gender equality and comprehensive development of women. Women development has been incorporated into general national economic and social development plans to facilitate high-level and long-term planning. Such incorporation makes the Chinese women's cause more reflective of modern trends.
Enactment and revision of laws by the National People's Congress (NPC) for the protection of women's rights: The NPC is established as a fundamental political system that combines the leadership of the CPC, the running of the country by the people, and rule of law. When faithfully performing their legislation and supervision duties, the NPC and its Standing Committee put great stress on protection of women's rights and promotion of women development. A number of relevant organizations have been set up for these purposes successively, including Women & Children Working Group, Office of Communist Youth League, Trade Union, and Women's Federation under Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee, and Office of Communist Youth League, Trade Union, and Women's Federation under Social Development Affairs Committee. These organizations are established to vigorously promote and implement the gender equality principle stipulated in the Constitution, follow and collect opinions of the Women's Federation and women during legislative review and legal supervision, inspect the enforcement of laws protecting women's rights and other pertinent laws, hear related reports, organize thematic investigations, and take practical measures to protect legal rights of women.
Creation and improvement of a working mechanism by the CPPCC for promoting women's cause: The CPPCC plays an important role in the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultations led by the CPC. The National Committee of CPPCC has successively established a number of women work organizations, including Women Working Group, Women and Youth Committee, Women, Youth, and Legal Affairs Committee, and Social and Legal Affairs Committee. These organizations make recommendations on key and difficult issues related to women development, and handle proposals regarding women's rights. Women's Federation is one of the 34 circles defined by the National Committee of the CPPCC. In China, a great number of women participate in political consultation, democratic supervision, and participation in the deliberation and administration of State affairs through consultation workshops, thematic investigations, and proposal submissions, thus promoting women development and gender equality on a continuous basis.