Full Text: Equality, Development and Sharing: Progress of Women's Cause in 70 Years Since New China's Founding

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Thursday published a white paper titled "Equality, Development and Sharing: Progress of Women's Cause in 70 Years Since New China's Founding."

China SCIOUpdated: September 20, 2019

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 guide over women's work, creation and improvement of women right 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 towards women's liberation and gender equality. In the twelve 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.

The creation and improvement of a working mechanism by the government for implementing the fundamental national policy of gender equality: In 1990, National Coordination Committee on Children and Women under State Council was established, which was renamed in 1993 to National Working Committee on Children and Women under State Council. The number of members of this committee has grown from 19 at its establishment to 35 (see Chart 1). This committee performs its legal duties by organizing, coordinating, instructing, and urging relevant departments in their work of women right protection, gender equality, and women development. The committee has its own offices, full-time staff, and funds. Local governmental units with similar functions have also been set up in all counties and higher-level administrative divisions and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, thereby forming a tiered working system of interrelation and cooperation links. Moreover, women's development has been listed as a key target in both general national economic and social development plans and department-specific plans. The Outline of the Twelfth Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China and the Outline of the Thirteenth Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China contain sections that deal specifically with women development plans and their implementation. There are also clearly defined objectives for the protection of women's rights in National Human Rights Action Plan of China and China's Action Plan against Human Abduction and Trafficking. Since 1995, the Chinese government has successively released three issues of Outline Program for Development of Chinese Women, each clarifying missions and targets for women's cause in a specific period. The drafting of the outline for the coming period starts in 2019. Other measures of great significance include the creation of a complete gender statistics system, publication of statistics-based monitoring reports for Outline Program for Development of Chinese Women, regular investigations of the social status of Chinese women, and the publication of relevant books such as Men and Women in China: Facts and Figures, Statistics about Conditions of Chinese Women and Children, etc.

Chart 1. 35 Members of National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council

The creation and improvement of a working mechanism for women's federations to serve as a bridge between the CPC and the government and general women groups: All-China Women's Federation is an organization jointly established by women from different ethnic groups and circles with the purpose of seeking further liberation and development of women. As a mass organization led by the CPC, the federation has formed a network of six levels, i.e. the nation, province (autonomous region, municipality), city (prefecture, autonomous prefecture), county (county-level city, district), township (residential district), and village (community), covering various women associations, institutions, social committees of women or women work committees, and group members (see Chart 2). In the meanwhile, women's federations continue to expand to new sectors, trades, classes, and groups. Following the instructions of the CPC and relevant laws and regulations, these organizations carry out their political responsibilities and basic functions diligently, including promoting solidarity, implementing CPC policies, representing and maintaining of women's rights, and realizing of gender equality and the comprehensive development of women. By sticking to the general directions of the CPC and the government in different stages, they disseminate theoretical roadmaps and policies of the CPC, and guide women to hold on to socialism-based women development paths with Chinese characteristics. The role they play is also unique in social and family life, and instrumental to the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. All-China Women's Federation is a member of Central Rural Work Leading Team, the Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress, Law Observance and Education Coordination Team under Central Committee for Comprehensive Law-based Governance, the State Council Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development, and Employment Work Leading Team under the State Council. In these organizations, it represents the interests of women, and takes part in democratic decision-making, management, and supervision of national and social affairs on behalf of women. All-China Women's Federation took the initiative in setting up leading teams for programs like "Learning Culture and Technologies, Competing with Achievements and Contributions" and "Accomplishments of Females", along with coordination teams for "Five-virtue Civil Families" and other activities. These teams help maintain legal rights of women and children while building a coordination mechanism for safe family systems. Through cooperation with different departments, they jointly promote the development of women's cause. Starting from the 18th CPC National Congress, women's federations have been engaged in reforms and innovations. These endeavors make them more active in the political arena and bring them closer to the masses. They are now among the most dependable and helpful assistants to the CPC in its women's work. The women's federations are strengthening cohesive affinity among women with the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics. By creating a direct and long-term women communication and service mechanism, they are able to guide, serve, and contact women masses. They also lead other women organizations in serving women, achieving gender equality, and promoting women cause.

Chart 2. Structural Diagram of Women's Federations
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