|Statement by Amb. Li Baodong, Head of the Chinese Delegation and Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the General Debate of the High-Level Segment of the 2010 ECOSOC Substantive Session|
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Millennium Declaration and the 15th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, it is of important significance for the realization of the MDGs and the advancement of women that this session of ECOSOC has chosen as the theme for the ministerial review “gender equality and women’s empowerment”.
Fifteen years ago, the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing, which has uplifted the world’s cause of women’s equality and development to a new level. For fifteen years, countries have worked actively to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and achieved remarkable progress in promoting legislation in gender equality, strengthening education for girls and eradicating violence against women. However, traditional gender stereotyping remains deep rooted and women’s economic situation, level of social participation and political status still have much room for improvement. As a result of the international financial crisis, women now face even more formidable challenges in employment and education. We still have a long way to go before the achievement of comprehensive gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Utilizing its unique advantages, ECOSOC has made fruitful efforts in implementing the MDGs and promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Chinese government supports the UN in playing its role in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment and will continue to provide political and financial support to relevant UN agencies working in this field. We welcome the consensus made in the reform of UN gender architecture. We believe that the establishment of the new gender entity should optimize the functions and resources of the existing entities, improve coordination and efficiency, increase input in development projects in developing countries and further promote the implementation of international commitments including the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
China is home to one fifth of women of the world. We have 641 million women, constituting 48.5% of our total population. The Chinese government has made enormous efforts to promote gender equality and fulfill its international commitments including the MDGs. In response to the impact of the international financial crisis, the Chinese government has implemented a series of policy measures aimed at ensuring growth, safeguarding people’s livelihood and maintaining stability. The policies promulgated by the government that directly benefit women and girls have provided new opportunities for women’s development. The following are some of them:
We have formulated the preferential policy of giving women access to micro-credit with fully subsidized interest and helped women to use funds from micro-credit to increase income and wealth. Till January this year, fourteen provinces and districts including Jiangxi Province and Jiangsu Province have issued to women 1.2 billion yuan in secured micro-credit, which helped more than 100,000 women to start their own business.
We have increased input in nine year compulsory education and exempted rural students at the stage of compulsory education from all tuitions. We are in the process of gradually exempting students in both urban and rural areas at the stage of compulsory education from miscellaneous school fees. We have worked to safeguard the right of girls to equal education as boys. In 2009, our national school enrollment rate for girls reached 99.44%, 0.08% higher than that for boys and there is no more gender disparity in net enrollment rate for primary school.
We have steadily increased resources for health care for women and children, gradually improved our health service network for women and carried out free health survey among rural women. Before the end of 2011, we’ll provide to 10 million rural women free screening for gynecological diseases.
We have adopted various policy measures to promote women’s participation in politics. In formulating or amending relevant laws, attention has been given to raising gender equality awareness. We have encouraged governments at all levels to enact legal rules and regulations against family violence and established work stations to provide legal assistance to women.
The above notwithstanding, China is still a developing country and one of the countries with the most people living in poverty. Currently, about 150 million people in China live under one dollar per day and women make up half of them. Safeguarding the survival and development of women is a long term task facing China.
For a long time, China has actively supported the cause of women in developing countries. We have provided women’s organizations and institutions with means of production, disaster relief material, medicine and office supplies in order to help the local women improve living conditions, increase income and improve the quality of life.
Women are a great force for the development of human society and the progress of the society as a whole is closely related to the development of women. Without the equal participation of women, we cannot hope to reach the goal of development and peace. The Chinese government is willing to work with other countries to adopt more effective measures in order to realize the goals of gender equality, women’s empowerment and building a harmonious world.
Thank you, Mr. President.