Women's health has further improved. 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 when New China was founded. The maternal mortality rate has fallen by 79.4% 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. The gap between urban and rural areas has been further narrowed: the ratio of urban to rural maternal mortality decreased from 1:2.2 in 1990 to 1:1.3 in 2018.
VII. Social Security for Women Continues to Improve
China sticks to ensuring and improving women's livelihoods in the course of pursing development. China works to develop a sustainable multi-tiered social security system that covers the entire population in both urban and rural areas, with clearly defined rights and responsibilities, and support that hits the right level. China will work to see that everyone has access to social security, medical services, elderly care, and social assistance. With social security institutionalized, Chinese women have an ever-stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security.
The level of maternity protection for women has increased significantly. China has actively developed a maternity protection system to safeguard women's reproductive rights and interests. From 1949 to 1992, China issued labor insurance regulations, policies of free medical services and regulations on maternity leave for women workers, stating that women who give birth enjoy maternity leave, maternity benefits, childbirth allowances, reimbursement for medical expenses and other services. In 1994, China introduced the Trial Measures for Maternity Insurance for Enterprise Employees which stipulated the financing and treatment of maternity insurance and marked the comprehensive implementation of maternity insurance system for urban employees. The Social Insurance Law of the People's Republic of China, promulgated in 2010, has a separate chapter for maternity insurance, turning departmental regulations to national laws and providing a legal basis for safeguarding women's reproductive rights and interests. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the system of maternity protection has been constantly improved. In 2019, China issued a guideline to combine maternity insurance with basic medical insurance for employees, requiring the integration of the two insurance funds and management resources to ensure that maternity insurance benefits for employees remain sustainable and unchanged during the childbearing, which will help to expand the coverage of maternity insurance and benefit more women who give birth. In 2018, the number of people participating in maternity insurance reached more than 200 million and the number of women was 89.27 million. Women who participate in basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents enjoy reimbursement for medical expenses for childbirth, and the reproductive rights and interests of unemployed women are protected. China has extended statutory maternity leave from 90 days to 98 days. Relevant laws and regulations have been adjusted gradually in various places and childbirth incentive leave and spouse care leave have also been set up. Some local authorities have explicated provisions on relevant allowance and benefits.