Chinese women playing bigger role on political stage
The rise of the number of female deputies in China's top legislature indicates women's increasing significance in China's political arena, observers have noted during the recent meetings of the country's top legislatures.
A total of 702 female legislators and 399 female political advisers are attending this year's two sessions, forming an important cohort for the discussion of China's political affairs, the People's Daily reported on International Women's Day.
According to a Xinhua News Agency report in 2013, the ratio of female NPC deputies reached 23.4 percent, or 699 out of a total of 2,987 lawmakers, the highest since the first National People's Congress in 1954.
Several NPC deputies and CPPCC members said that women have played an irreplaceable role in the country's strategic design.
"Women account for large ratios in the fields of education and health, and they have served an important role," said NPC deputy Huang Xiuling, while another female deputy, Cheng Su, said that Chinese women have had significant impact on maintaining stability and enhancing economic and political development.
"Both policies and advocacy for gender equality have contributed to the rise of the number of female deputies, which allow them to put forward more proposals favorable for women's development," Hu Xingdou, a professor with the Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Global Times.
The number of female officials has also been on the rise in recent years, with many reaching the ranks of senior leadership.
Since 1949, except for Deng Yingchao, wife of late Premier Zhou Enlai and CPPCC chairwoman from 1983 to 1988, 28 women have been appointed to leadership positions in central authorities.
Among them, five, including former vice-premier Wu Yi and incumbent Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, reached the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, according to the Ta Kung Pao newspaper.
There are now six women in leadership positions in central government agencies including Liu Yandong and Sun Chunlan, head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.
Among 396 current members of provincial CPC standing committees, 34 are women. Seven of those are members of ethnic minorities, showing that the Chinese government has paid attention to cultivating and promoting female officials from ethnic minority groups, said Ta Kung Pao.
In a plan on developing government leadership issued last year, a certain ratio of female officials in the leadership of government agencies was requested.
A new personnel rule issued in February delayed the retirement age of female officials at division level or above from 55 years old to 60, the same as male officials.
However, no female figures have ever joined the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the apex of political power in China.
(Source: Global Times)
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