Achievements of the China National Program for Women's Development (2011-2020) in Women and Education
2. Women and Education
2.1) Equal access to pre -primary education for girls has been effectively guaranteed. Since the implementation of the China National Program for Women's Development (2011-2020) (the NPA for Women), China has successively implemented three action plans on pre-primary education, increased pre-primary education resources through various channels, and effectively guaranteed the right to equal access to pre-primary education for girls. In 2020, 22.72 million girls were enrolled in pre-primary education (including kindergartens and pre-primary classes attached to schools) across the country, an increase of 9.19 million girls or 68 percent since 2010, and the growth rate was 6.1 percentage points higher than that of all children enrolled in pre-primary education. Of all children receiving pre-primary education, the proportion of girls was 47.2 percent, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from 2010. By 2020, the national gross enrollment ratio for pre-primary education was 85.2 percent, far higher than the 70 percent target outlined in the NPA for Women.
2.2) The gender gap in compulsory education has been basically eliminated. Since the implementation of the NPA for Women, with the progress in urban-rural integration and the continuous improvement of relevant laws and policies, and the implementation of special support policies for girls such as the Spring Bud Program, girls' right to equal access to compulsory education has been further guaranteed. The net enrollment rate of primary school-age girls remained above 99.9 percent for six consecutive years since 2015, which was virtually the same as that of boys. The gender gap in compulsory education has been essentially eliminated. In 2020, the survival rate of the nine-year compulsory education was 95.2 percent, an increase of 4.1 percentage points from 2010, and achieved the 95 percent target outlined in the NPA for Women as planned. There were 72.85 million female students enrolled in the nine-year compulsory education stage, an increase of 1.97 million or 2.8 percent since 2010, accounting for 46.6 percent of the total number of students in school.
2.3) Equal access to senior secondary education has been strengthened for girls. Since the implementation of the NPA for Women, the level of universalization of senior secondary education in China has continuously advanced, and the equal access to senior secondary education for girls has further strengthened. In 2020, the gross enrollment ratio of senior secondary education across the country reached 91.2 percent, an increase of 8.7 percentage points from 2010, and achieved the 90 percent target outlined in the NPA for Women. In 2020, there were 19.50 million girls enrolled in senior secondary education, accounting for 46.9 percent. Among them, 12.58 million girls were enrolled in regular senior secondary schools, accounting for 50.4 percent. This figure has remained above 50 percent for six consecutive years.
2.4) The proportion of girls surpassed the proportion of boys in all forms of higher education. Since the implementation of the NPA for Women, China's higher education has developed rapidly, and the opportunities for women to receive higher education have continued to increase. Financial assistance has been provided to poor female students and female students with disabilities via multiple channels and methods, thus effectively guaranteeing women's equal access to higher education. In 2020, the gross enrollment ratio of higher education was 54.4 percent, an increase of 27.9 percentage points from 2010. There were 1.60 million female graduate students enrolled in higher education, accounting for 50.9 percent of all graduate students, and an increase of 3.1 percentage points from 2010. The number of female students enrolled in colleagues/ universities and adult programs in colleges/universities were 16.74 million and 4.51 million, respectively, accounting for 51.0 percent and 58.0 percent of all undergraduate students, an increase of 0.1 and 4.9 percentage points from 2010.
2.5) The gender gap in the average level of education has further narrowed. According to the results of the Seventh National Population Census, the average number of years of education received by the population aged 15 and above in 2020 was 9.91 years, which was 10.22 years for men and 9.59 years for women. Compared to 2010, the gender gap has narrowed from a difference of 0.8 years to a difference of 0.6 years. The national crude illiteracy rate was 2.67 percent. The crude illiteracy rate of women was 4.10 percent, 2.1 percentage points lower than that in 2010. Compared to 2010, the gender gap has narrowed from a difference of 4.1 percentage points to a difference of 2.8 percentage points.
(Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China)
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