China's commitments on women's empowerment lauded by world leaders

The commitments pledged by Chinese President Xi Jinping for gender equality and women's empowerment at a high-level summit at the UN headquarters on Sunday were applauded by world leaders.

Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: A Commitment to Action, co-hosted by China and the UN Women, gathered world leaders for a universal message to address problems facing women and girls.

Speaking at the meeting, Xi said the pursuit of gender equality is "a great cause," for "a review of history shows that without women's liberation and progress, the liberation and progress of mankind would not be attainable."

The president put forward a four-point proposal on promoting gender equality and women's all-round development worldwide, such as striving for women's development, protecting women's rights and interests, ensuring sufficient basic medical services, and developing vocational and life-long education for women.

Besides, China will, in the coming five years, help other developing countries build 100 health projects for women and children, send teams of medical experts to provide services, and implement 100 "happy campus projects" to finance the schooling of poor girls and raise girls' school enrollment rate, said the president.

China will also host 30,000 women from developing countries for training programs in China and provide 100,000 skills training opportunities in local communities of other developing countries, Xi said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked China for organizing the event and expressed his appreciation for China's generous support.

"I commend the leadership of President Xi Jinping, and I thank the government of China and UN Women for organizing this event. Thank you, Mr. president, for your very generous support for UN Women," said Ban.

The secretary-general called on all leaders to make tangible commitments that will secure true gender equality throughout the world.

"First, create and energetically implement coherent gender equality policies. Second, provide significant financing for gender equality. And third, monitor progress so that all governments will hold themselves and each other accountable," said Ban.

"The leaders are taking personal responsibility for their commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Now the world looks up to them to lead the game-changing actions that secure and sustain implementation. Today we take the first firm step toward Sept. 25, 2030," said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of the UN Women.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, a comprehensive roadmap for gender equality and women empowerment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the meeting that "we all committed in 1995 to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Now we are making a new commitment with Sustainable Development Goal Five," which is about the empowerment of women and girls

"Commitments are good. Action is better. Let us take action!" Merkel said.

Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, said that Chinese leadership on gender equality and women's empowerment is very commendable. Although the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted 20 years ago, it is still a powerful source of guidance and inspiration for this cause.

Brazil's first female President Dilma Rousseff said that 20 years ago, the Beijing women's conference left an important spiritual heritage, and the world leaders should continue to advance the women's empowerment so as to ensure that women hold up half the sky.

French President Francois Hollande said that the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing opened a new chapter on this lofty cause. So far, great progress has been made, he said.

Around 100 representatives, including 80 heads of states and governments, attended the meeting where they exchanged views on the issue of global women's development, reaffirming that gender equality is a precondition for social development.

  Source: Xinhua  2015-10-16

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