|Statement by Madame Song Xiuyan at the Ministerial Roundtable on Making the Economy Work for Women and Girls|
I am much honored to represent the Chinese government to join delegations of all countries to the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in discussing gender equality and women's development in the economic field. Equal participation in economic activities and fair share of economic resources are basic conditions for women's survival and development and core index of gender equality and women's development of a country and region. Since 1995, the Chinese government has embraced gender equality and women's development in the economic field as a major goal in promoting national economic and social development. It has formulated and revised relevant laws, regulations and policies and taken interim and special measures to protect economic rights and interests of women and girls and improve women's participation in economic development.
1. Improving laws and regulations to protect women's economic rights and interests. The Chinese government empowers and protects women's economic rights and interests through laws and policies. Since 1995 it has formulated or revised over ten laws on women's economic empowerment including the Law on Employment Promotion, the Labor Law, the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, the Law on Labor Contract, the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases and the Regulations Concerning the Labor Protection of Female Staff and Workers. These legal documents stress that the working people shall not be discriminated against for their gender and provide legal protection for women's economic empowerment. For example, the Law on Employment Promotion enacted in 2007 has a special chapter on employment equality.
2. Issuing and implementing women's program to promote women's participation in economic affairs. Since 1995, the Chinese government has issued three national programs on women's development and set "women and economy" as a priority development area. The chapter on women and economy of the National Program on Women's Development in China (2011-2020) put forward eight main goals and 12 measures in six areas, including ensuring gender equality in employment, improving women's employment structure, narrowing income difference between men and women and improving women's occupational health and safety. In 2013 women accounted for 45% of all those employed in China. 63.38 million women worked in urban organizations, 14.76 million more than the number in 2010, accounting for 35% of those employed in urban organizations. In 2013, 46% of those working in companies and institutions of public ownership were women.
3. Taking effective actions to promote women entrepreneurship and employment. Employment is a basic economic right of women for survival and development. Since 1995 the Chinese government has adopted a number of policies to promote women entrepreneurship and employment and enhance women's capabilities through various professional skills training programs of public private partnership. In 2009 the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the People's Bank of China and the All-China's Women's Federation jointly launched the policy of providing government interest subsidy on guaranteed micro-credit to promote entrepreneurship and employment for women, rural women in particular, through raising the ceiling of micro-credit for women, widening the channels of loan application and government paying interest for loans borrowed by women. By the end of the 2014, 217.275 billion yuan of guaranteed micro-credit for women were issued; 18.681 billion yuan of interest subsidies were provided by the central and local governments; 4.5915 million women were granted micro-credit and over 10 million women were able to start their own businesses or get employed.
The Chinese government will continue to fully implement the basic state policy of gender equality, take economic empowerment as a mission in its efforts to comprehensively complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, comprehensively deepen the reform and comprehensively promote law-based governance, and work hard to raise the level of participation by women and girls in economic development.