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

VIII. Women Play Unique Role in Cultivation of Family Virtues

Families are the cells of society. Family harmony is good for social stability, family happiness creates social harmony, and family virtues bring about social civilization. China has always attached great importance to family building, focused on protecting women's rights to marriage and family, and increasingly consolidated the equality between men and women in marriage and family relations. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, it has paid more attention to family, family education, family tradition, and the unique role of women in family life, promoting the core socialist values to take root in families, and forming a new style of socialist family virtues featuring patriotism, family love, mutual love and care, aspiration for the pursuit of excellence and moral integrity, and joint building and sharing.

Establishing a marriage and family system to improve the equality between men and women. The enactment of the New Marriage Law in 1950 fundamentally abolished the discrimination and oppression against women in the feudal marriage system, and as a result women's marriage and family life have undergone historical changes. The first 1954 Constitution of the People's Republic of China clearly prescribed that women and men have equal rights in family life, and that marriage, family, mothers and children are protected by the state. All previous constitutional amendments have focused on protecting women's equal rights to marriage and family. The amendment of the Marriage Law reaffirmed the implementation of a marriage system featuring the equality between men and women, advocated maintaining equal, harmonious and civilized marriage and family relations, and added provisions prohibiting domestic violence and supporting compensation for housework and divorce damages. Relevant laws and regulations concerning marriage and family relations emphasize the protection of women's rights. In 2015, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law was enacted, which prohibits any form of domestic violence and protects women's personal rights in family. In 2017, the General Principles of the Civil Law was promulgated and the compilation of the Civil Code was initiated, focusing on further improving the marriage and family system featuring the equality between men and women. In 2017, six government entities, including the All-China Women's Federation, the Central Public Security Comprehensive Management Commission, and the Supreme People's Court, issued the "Opinions on Preventing and Resolving Marriage and Family Disputes" to provide diverse and convenient services for the public to resolve marriage and family disputes. In 2018, the Supreme People's Court issued a judicial interpretation to solve the thorny problem concerning the identification standard of the joint debts of husband and wife.

Establishing a policy system to support family and women's development. After New China was founded, policies closely associated with family were issued, including those related to marriage, maternity, child care, and elderly care. Government entities, industrial and mining enterprises, residential districts, and communes established nursing rooms, nurseries, kindergartens, which liberated women's labor and supported women's broad participation in social labor. For more than 40 years since the reform and opening up policy was adopted, China has incorporated family building into the overall plan for national economic and social development. The 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) outlined clear requirements for family building, emphasized the improvement of family development ability, and attached importance to the role of family in supporting social development and sharing social responsibility. The Program for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-2020) emphasized shared family responsibilities of men and women, development of family-oriented public services, and creation of conditions for both husband and wife to strike a balance between work and family. In 2010, the "Guiding Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on the Development of Family Service Industry" was issued. The All-China Women's Federation and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly implemented a special project for training women on family services to help more couples better balance work and family. Further efforts were made to continue carrying out the campaign of caring girls and deeply promoting the activities of "Bringing a New Marital Style into Thousands of Families". In 2015, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued the "Decision on Implementing a Comprehensive Two-Child Policy Reform and Perfecting Family Planning Service Management" which proposed establishing a family development support system, establishing complete family development policies, including birth support, child rearing, and elderly support. Measures were taken to extensively develop happy family activities and new family plans, strengthen the role of family in child care and elderly care, support women in returning to work after delivery, encourage employers to devise measures that help employees balance work and family, and promote gender equality in society. In 2019, General Office of the State Council issued the "Guiding Opinions on Improving Care Services for Infants Under 3 Years Old," proposing the establishment of a sound policy and regulation system and a standardized system for infant and child care services, and providing policy support for family parenting.

Coordinating social resources to support family education service. China attaches great importance to family education. Since 1996, the All-China Women's Federation, the Ministry of Education, the Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress and other departments have successively issued five rounds of family education work plans. Since 2010, the "Guiding Outline of National Family Education" and the "Guiding Opinions on Strengthening Family Education Work" were issued, which have played an important role in guiding family education practice in a scientific manner. Family education legislation was incorporated into the legislative plan of the Standing Committee of the 13th NPC, and in some regions regulations on promoting family education were issued. In 2018, the National Education Conference was held, emphasizing the responsibility of the whole society for boosting the healthy growth of the young, and the important role of family, as the first school in life, in helping fasten the first button of life, persisting in the fundamental task of strengthening moral education and cultivating people in family education, and fostering children's good thinking, good conduct, and good habits. At present, the level of specialization, networking and refinement of family education guidance services has been continuously improved, while the guidance service areas have been diversified. By the end of 2017, a total of 426,000 parent schools were established, 70.86 million training sessions were launched, and 17,000 online parent schools and 65,000 SMS and WeChat service platforms were established. More and more urban and rural families enjoy inclusive and public welfare family education guidance services.

Emphasizing the unique role of women in cultivating family virtues. China attaches importance to the unique role of women in promoting family virtues and establishing good family traditions. From the "Five-Virtue Family" selection activities carried out in urban and rural areas nationwide in the 1950s, to various family virtue cultivation activities, such as beautiful families, five-virtue families, green families, peaceful families, harmonious families, and civilized families, plenty of women actively participated in cultivating family virtues, promoted the development of family virtues such as the equality between men and women, harmony between husband and wife, respect for the elderly, and love for the children, advocated for a green, environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle, made family a starting point for social peace and harmony, took advantage of model families' role in encouraging other families to emulate them, respect virtues and good deeds, and pursue a harmonious and happy life. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, more emphasis has been placed on the important role of family in passing on virtues, fostering family traditions, and strengthening moral education and cultivating people. In 2014, since the All-China Women's Federation organized the "Most Beautiful Family" campaign, the majority of women have participated actively in it, promoting the implementation of the core socialist values in families, passing on family education and family tradition to thousands of households, and supporting good social morality with good family tradition. By the end of 2018, a total of 485 million people had participated in the online and offline search for the "Most Beautiful Family" activities, and more than 3.8 million "Most Beautiful Families" at various levels had stood out. From 1997 to 2018, more than 8,800 households were commended as "Five-Virtue Families." Since the beginning of 2016, female workers at all levels of trade unions organized practical activities with the theme of "Cultivating Good Family Tradition – Female Employees in Action." In 2019, the All-China Women's Federation launched the implementation of the "Family Wellbeing Project" (see Chart 7), responding positively to the new needs of a great number of women and hundreds of millions of families in the new era, creating social harmony based on the harmony of small families, and promoting the formation of family happiness and wellbeing.

Chart 7. Family Wellbeing Project

Family relationship in the new era is more equal, harmonious, and civilized. In the past 70 years, a great number of women have been freed from the feudal marriage system, the degree of autonomy in marriage has been greatly improved, and the awareness of subject and rights in marriage and family relations has been continuously enhanced. Gender equality in marriage and family has improved markedly, and the joint decision-making of family affairs has become a trend. The third round of the Chinese Women's Social Status survey shows that more than 70% of women participate in the decision-making of family affairs, more and more women share family resources equally, more and more couples share housework, balance family and work, and the gap of time spent in housework between men and women has gradually narrowed. The awareness of rule of law in promoting the healthy development of equal marriage between men and women in the whole society has been continuously improved. The consciousness of respecting the elderly and loving the young, equality between men and women, harmony between husband and wife, and neighborhood unity has become more deeply rooted in people's hearts. Thousands upon thousands of families have jointly promoted family harmony, family love, the healthy growth of next generations, and elderly care, which has become the cornerstone for national development, people's progress, and social harmony.

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