Gender Equality and Women's Development in China

The state protects the rights and interests of rural women in relation to land. China is a large agricultural country, and women living in rural areas account for about 70 percent of the total agricultural labor force. While forging ahead with deeper all-round reform and promoting village-level self-government in rural areas, the state has implemented and improved laws and policies on protecting the land rights of women in rural areas, established various systems for managing rural collective funds, assets and resources, corrected any village regulations and folk conventions for villagers that are in conflict with statutory regulations and the principle of gender equality, so as to ensure that women in rural areas enjoy equal rights of land contract and management, use of homesteads and distribution of collective income. In the verification, registration and certification of land contract and management rights, it is clearly ruled that women' s rights and interests in relation to land must be given expression to in the registration book and land right certificate, so that women in rural areas are ensured access to the resources necessary for survival and development at source.

The state improves the level of social security for women. The Social Insurance Law of the People' s Republic of China has a separate chapter for maternity insurance, clearly stipulating that women equally enjoy social security rights. In the Program for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-2020), a section titled "Women and Social Security" was added, defining the main goals, policies, and measures to enable women to enjoy equal access to social insurance, relief, welfare and assistance. The number of women participating in old-age insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, industrial injury insurance, and maternity insurance keeps rising. In 2013, the numbers of women covered by old-age insurance and medical insurance for urban workers reached 146.12 million and 126.57 million, growing by 67.43 million and 72.82 million as compared to the figures in 2005, and the number of women participating in maternity insurance reached 71.17 million, an increase of 48.44 million as compared with 2005. In April 2012, the Special Regulations on Labor Protection for Female Employees was promulgated and put into effect, extending statutory maternity leave from 90 days to 98 days and increasing the level of maternity protection for women.

III. Women and Education

China actively promotes equality in education, adjusting the structure of education, adhering to the principle of gender equality, and working hard to guarantee equal rights and opportunities for both men and women to access education.

The gender gap in education has been markedly narrowed. The state implements the Compulsory Education Law of the People' s Republic of China and other relevant laws, regulations and policies, and takes practical measures to improve women' s education. It has implemented a special policy to ensure school-age girls enjoy equal access to compulsory education. In 2014, the net primary school enrolment rates of boys and girls were both 99.8 percent, meaning that China has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of time. Women now enjoy greater opportunities in junior high school education and above, particularly further education. In 2014, the proportion of female students in junior high schools was 46.7 percent and that in high schools was 50 percent; in institutions of higher learning women accounted for 52.1 percent of undergraduate students, 51.6 percent of postgraduate students, and 36.9 percent of students studying for Ph.D. degrees.

The state has set up special funds to reduce the number of illiterate women. In 2013, the illiteracy rate for females at and over the age of 15 was 6.7 percent, 17.4 percentage points lower than in 1995; and the population of illiterate women fell by more than 70 million as compared with 1995. Women' s average years of schooling have increased, and the gender gap has narrowed. The Sixth National Census showed that the average years of schooling for women over the age of six were 8.4 years in 2010, 1.3 years more than in 2000, and the gender gap had narrowed by 0.2 year as compared with 2000.

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  Source: ACFTU  2015-10-22

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