China Reports to UN CEDAW on Its Elimination of Discrimination against Women

December 25, 2014
Editor: Tracy Zhu
This past October, China sent a delegation to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to present a report on the Chinese government's implementation of the UN's Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and on the progress China has made in safeguarding women's rights and interests since 1996, marking yet another noteworthy event on women's issues in China for the year 2014. [Women of China]

This past October, China sent a delegation to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to present a report on the Chinese government's implementation of the UN's Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and on the progress China has made in safeguarding women's rights and interests since 1996, marking yet another noteworthy event on women's issues in China for the year 2014.

Song Xiuyan, deputy director of the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council (NWCCW), led the Chinese delegation comprised of representatives from Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. Song delivered a speech at the United Nations' 59th CEDAW session, with was held in Geneva, Switzerland, this past October 23.

Song, also vice president of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), said in her speech that over the past eight years, China has made progress in various aspects of ending discrimination against women.

Song said that China has formulated and ratified more than ten laws and regulations on the elimination of gender discrimination and the safeguarding of women's rights and interests. All 31 administrative regions, including provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, have drawn up their own regulations for enforcing the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women which was issued in 1992. The Outline Program for the Development of Chinese Women (2011–2020), issued by the State Council in 2011, has made increasing the percentage of women in decision-making and management roles for social issues a top priority among all of its work on promoting women's development.

China has also taken particularly significant measures in promoting women's development and employment. An example of these measures is the "small-loans project," which has already provided almost four million women with a loan to help them kick-start their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

In addition, China has promoted women's health, which is evidenced by a reduced national maternal mortality rate and by the various plans that have been enacted to raise the education level of women and young girls nationwide. The percentage of women's delivery in hospitals among all the deliveries has been increased from the 88.4 percent in 2006 to 99.2 percent in 2012. And the mortality [SB1] rate of pregnant women has been reduced from 41.1 for every 100,000 in 2006 to 23.2 for every 100,000 in 2012.

Song noted that China has been giving a great deal of importance to the protection of the rights and interests of those in special groups. For example, the Chinese government has increased funding allocation to ethnic-minority areas to promote local women's development and the protection of their rights and interests; improved the elderly welfare program to protect elderly women's rights and interests in medical treatment and health; established a special welfare and insurance mechanism to protect the rights and interests of disabled women and migrants; and has adopted a number of other laws and regulations to ensure women's safety.

In addition, the Chinese government has improved its gender statistics mechanism and established a comprehensive statistics system with quantitative data that provide evidence about the progress of women and girls' rights and interest, in which more than 500 statistical indicators has been developed.

Song stressed that China will work together with the UN and the international community to promote the implementation of the CEDAW.

Song also stated that the Chinese government has adhered to the State policy on gender equality and has made active efforts in putting an end to gender discrimination. However, with a large population of more than 1.3 billion, China still encounters many challenges in this area; and the Chinese government will continue to listen carefully to the opinions and suggestions that come out of the CEDAW, in order to optimize its safeguarding of women's rights and interests.

At the session, the CEDAW committee members gave high praise to the efforts and achievements the Chinese government has made in ending the discrimination against women and in safeguarding women's rights and interests. They also posed a number of related questions, all of which the Chinese delegation was happy to answer.

Background of the CEDAW Convention

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women is one of the most important international conventions in the field of human-rights protection. Adopted in December of 1979 by the UN General Assembly, this convention, as an international bill of rights for women, consists of a preamble and 30 articles defining what constitutes discrimination against women and establishing an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

Each State member of the convention is required to submit periodically a report on their progress in implementing what is outlined within the convention. China was ratified as a State member of the convention in 1980.

At the 59th CEDAW session, held from October 20 to November 7, 2014, representatives from eight countries including China, Venezuela, Poland, Ghana, Belgium, Brunei , Guinea and the Solomon Islands gave presentations on their submitted government reports and responded to issues raised by a group of experts at the session.

(Source: Xinhua/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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