|Statement by Mme. Zhao Shaohua, Vice Chairperson of the National Working Committee on Women and Children of the State Council of China, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at the 50th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women|
First of all, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, please allow me to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau for your election. The Commission on the Status of Women, in its 60 years of work, has played a major role in policy-making for the advancement of women and promoting global gender equality. We believe that through innovations and intensive exchanges and sharing, the Commission will energize even greater vitalities. We also believe that under your leadership this session will achieve success.
In the past 60 years, the international community has exerted tremendous efforts to promote gender equality and much progress has been made. States and various stakeholders increasingly recognized that equality between men and women is indivisible from global and local equality, development and peace. It is also recognized that equality between men and women is a social issue rather than women's issue, therefore must be achieved through comprehensive and mainstreaming strategies.
However, this is not yet the time to celebrate. We are still confronted with severe challenges. Persistent poverty, discrimination, violence, armed conflicts, negative impacts of globalization, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation and other non-traditional security issues, all jeopardize the achievement of gender equality. We must continue to improve our counter strategies and actions, commit ourselves to promoting world peace and common development, strengthening international cooperation, narrowing regional divide and achieving the MDGs at an early date.
2005 witnessed China's efforts in accelerating the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, the outcome document of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women through gender mainstreaming and comprehensive measures.
In terms of legislation, China amended the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests which came into force in 1992, to address new issues and changing situations. In August, after in-depth research, extensive consultations and experience summarization, the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress reviewed and adopted Decision on the Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests. The amendment took effect on Dec.1, 2005. It incorporated gender equality as a basic national policy of in its general principles, and made further stipulations in terms of women's political, educational and cultural rights, women's labor and social security rights, women's rights to property and to person, and women's marriage and family rights. The amendment stressed legal responsibilities of the government. This year, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, will formulate implementation measures and corresponding legal measures to ensure enforceability and effectiveness of the amended law.
From Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 2005, China held Beijing +10: Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of the Fourth World Conference on Women. About 1,000 participants from over 90 countries and regions, many of whom are state leaders, women ministers, NGO leaders and UN senior officials, attended the Conference in Beijing and had open and heated discussions over implementation of BPFA and the outcome document. The Conference mapped out strategies for further actions and adopted the Beijing +10 Declaration: Solidarity for Gender Equality, Development and Peace. China has submitted the Declaration to the 60th Session of the General Assembly (A/60/371).
In the past year, China also intensified actions in combating violence against women, promoting women's role in decision-making, women' s employment, poverty-reduction, maternal health, treatment and assistance to HIV/AIDS patients, and in indicators and monitoring, etc. The governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region of China are also devoted to the development and advancement of women and have taken legislative and administrative measures for greater gender equality.
In recent years, China has made rapid progress in economic development as well as legal and democratic build up, which provide good conditions and environment for achieving gender equality. However, we are fully aware that economic development does not naturally lead to women's advancement. Like many other countries, China is faced with regional imbalance as well as imbalance between economic development and progress in gender equality. As a populous developing country, China still has a long and arduous way to go to achieve gender equality. China stands ready to strengthen international cooperation and exchanges in advancing gender equality, to learn from international experience, and to strive for equal and harmonious advancement of both men and women for a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious world!
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.