Protection of Rights of Women and Children to Promote Development of the Cause of Human Rights
February 14,2017   By:CSHRS
Protection of Rights of Women and Children to Promote Development of the Cause of Human Rights

All China National Women Federation
The rights of women and children are an important part of human rights. China consistently adheres to the basic national policy of equality between men and women and the principle of priority for children, and keeps improving the legal system, policy system, work system and organizational system for promoting the development of women and protecting the rights and interests of women and children. The third round of the Outline of the Program for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-2020) and the Outline of the Program for the Development of Children (2011-2020) have been promulgated for implementation, bringing the development of women and children into the general planning for economic and social development. The various tasks for protecting the rights of women and children prescribed by the National Human Rights Program of Action (2012-2015) have been fulfilled. Therefore, new development has been achieved in the cause of women and children in China.
I. The Right of Women to Equally Participate in Economic and Social Development Has Been Effectively Guaranteed
First, chances for women to participate on an equal footing with men in the management of state and social affairs have increased. Female deputies account for 23.43 percent of all deputies in the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), 2.07 percentage points higher than the previous congress. The women members in the National Committee of the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) account for 17.84 percent of the total, somewhat higher than that of the previous committee. In 2015, the proportion of women in the leaderships of provincial-level governments increased notably from that in 2012. Women extensively participate in the democratic construction at the grassroots level. In 2015, the percentage of women members in village committees in rural areas nationwide reached 26.18 percent, a 3.48 percent increase over 2013. In 2013, the percentage of women members in neighborhood committees in urban areas nationwide reached 48.4 percent, with that of female directors thereof reaching 41.5 percent, indicating that women have become an essential force in the grassroot level governance. Female workers actively participate in the democratic management and supervision of enterprises. In 2014, women members in Trade Unions nationwide accounted for 38.1 of the total. Meanwhile, the proportions of women in the Workers Congress, Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors of enterprises respectively accounted for 29.3 percent, 40.1 percent, and 41.5 percent of the total.

Second, the women’s equal right to employment is promoted. All China National Women Federation always attaches importance to promotion of women’s equal employment and venture, and cooperates with other competent departments concerned in implementing the policy of offering financial discounts for small-sum guaranteed loans intended to encourage women’s employment and business startups. Since 2009, a total of 260,704 billion yuan in small-sum guaranteed loans with financial discounts has been extended to women, supporting and leading employment and business startups by nearly 10 million women. The State vigorously promotes the development of housekeeping services and crafts textile, such as weaving and knitting, in order that women in urban and rural areas can find employment locally and in areas close to their homes, or get employed in other regions in employment transfer. It launches operations of supporting employment and business startups by female university graduates, and provides female university graduates with training in employment, guidance over business startups and internship opportunities. Project Sunshine has been in implementation to improve the quality and skills of the rural female workforce. The government has launched a program of action known as Business Startup and Innovation by Women to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among women, encouraging women to seek employment or start up businesses in emerging industries, in new forms of business and under new models of employment. About 55 percent of new Internet businesses are being founded by women. Efforts have been made to keep promoting the policy that enables women to retire at the same age as their male counterparts. In 2015, the State launched the policy that women in positions of middle-ranking officials, senior professionals and technicians at State organs and public institutions retire at the same age as their male counterparts. In 2014, the total number of women employed nationwide accounted for 44.8 percent of the total employed population. The latest survey of the social status of Chinese women shows that the proportion of women employed in secondary and tertiary industries grew by 25 percentage points in comparison with 10 years ago. In 2013, the proportion of middle-ranking and senior female professional and technical personnel reached 44.1 percent of the total in this category, and the number of women entrepreneurs accounted for one quarter of the total number of entrepreneurs in China.

Third, the land rights and interests enjoyable by women in rural areas in accordance with law are realized. Under the attention and support of competent departments concerned, women’s rights and interests in relation to land are indicated in the book of registration of the right to contractual operation of land and the certificate of ownership of the immovables in rural areas, so that women in rural areas are guaranteed access to the resources necessary for survival and development at the source.

Fourth, significant progress has been made in alleviating poverty among women. Efforts to protect impoverished women have been strengthened. In 2014, the numbers of women covered by subsistence allowances for urban and rural residents were 7.92 million and 18.26 million respectively, basically covering everyone in need. The State has actively launched a number of public welfare and charity programs for impoverished mothers, such as “the program of relief for mothers suffering from breast cancer and cervical cancer”, “the comfortable housing project for impoverished rural single mothers”, and “the mother health express program”, helping sick women, poor single mothers and various other groups of mothers in need to improve their situation of subsistence and development. From 2013 to the end of 2015, the number of women with files created to register their situation of poverty in China lowered from 41.05 million to 24.85 million, with 16.20 million women lifted out of poverty. Fifth, equal rights and opportunities for both men and women to receive education are further guaranteed. In 2014, the net primary school enrollment rates of boys and girls were both 99.8%, indicating that China has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule. In 2014, the proportion of female students in junior high schools was 46.7 percent and that in senior high schools was 50 percent. In the same year, in general institutions of higher learning, women accounted for 52.1 percent of the undergraduate students, 51.6 percent of the postgraduate students, and 36.9 percent of the students pursuing academic studies leading to doctorate degrees. The State has set up special education funds to reduce the number of illiterate women. In 2013, the illiteracy rate for females at and over the age of 15 was 6.7 percent. The rate of women who have been receiving vocational education and skill training rises consistently. In 2014, the number of women receiving secondary vocational education at schools made up 44.7 percent of the total, and the number of females studying in technical secondary schools reached 53 percent of the total. In 2013, women who participated in skill training programs sponsored by government training institutions accounted for 43 percent of the total number of trainees.

Sixth, the level of women’s healthcare service has been kept improving. The system of laws and policies on maternal and child health has been kept improving.  In April 2012, the State Council promulgated the Special Rules for Labor Protection of Female Employees, with revision and improvement of  the scope of application and the scope of jobs that cannot be assigned to female workers, extending the duration of statutory maternity leave to 98 days. In 2015, maternity insurance covered 77.12 million women across the country, and 12.05 million husbands or wives who were planning to have babies received free physical examinations, with the average coverage rate in target groups reaching 96.5 percent. The rate of women in the countryside giving birth in hospitals increased from 97.8 percent in 2010 to 99.5 percent in 2015. The maternal mortality rate among pregnant and lying-in women lowered from 30 out of every 100,000 women in 2010 to 20.1 in every 100,000 women in 2015. In 2009, All China National Women Federation and the National Health and Family Planning Commission jointly launched pilot programs of free cervical and breast cancer check-ups for rural women. By the end of 2015, 51.95 million and 7.47 million rural women had received free tests for cervical cancer and breast cancer respectively. China was listed by the World Health Organization as one of the 10 best-performing countries in maternal and child health.

Seventh, personal rights of women have been further protected. Major breakthrough has been achieved in legislation addressing domestic violence against women. On December 27, 2015, the NPC Standing Committee adopted the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which went into effect on March 1, 2016. As the first major law enacted by China against domestic violence, this law provides legal guarantee for preventing and stopping domestic violence and protecting the legal rights and interests of women and other family members. New progress has been made in the fight against abducting and trafficking in women and children. The Amendment IX to the Criminal Law provides for harsher punishment of the buyers for the crime of abducting and trafficking in women and children. The General Office of the State Council published China’s Program of Action Against Human Abduction and Trafficking (2013-2020), in order to strengthen efforts to crack down on such crimes. From 2014 to 2015, a total of 2,412 cases of abducting and trafficking in women were cleared up by public security organs.
II. Children’s Rights Have Been Protected Further
First, children’s right to health is effectively guaranteed. The mortality rate of infants went down from 13.1 out of every 1,000 infants in 2010 to 8.1 in every 1,000 infants in 2015. And, the mortality rate of children under the age of five was 10.7 out of every 1,000 of children of this age group in 2015, 5.7 per thousand lower than in 2010. In 2014, the incidence rates of low weight in infants and children under the age of five were 2.6 percent and 1.48 percent respectively, with the expected goals achieved ahead of schedule. Over 97 percent of the children are vaccinated in the annual national immunization program, with the average vaccination rate in 2014 remaining at  99 percent or higher on a continued basis.

Second, children’s health is improved by means of nutritional intervention. In 2011, the “Operation to Eliminate Anemia Among Infants” was jointly launched by All China National Women Federation and the National Health and Family Planning Commission, with the distribution of “love and care” nutrition packages to infants aged 6 to 36 months in poverty-stricken areas, benefiting 809,200 infants in 10 western provinces (including autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government) by 2015. From 2012 to 2015, the Central Government finance kept allocating 900 million yuan for operating projects of nutrition improvement for infants and children in poverty-stricken areas, benefiting 1.37624 million months old infants and children in contiguous severely poverty-stricken areas in 21 provinces (including autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government). Steady progress has been made in implementing a nutrition enhancement program for students receiving compulsory education in rural areas. By the end of October 2015, national-level pilot programs for nutrition enhancement had been launched in 699 concentrated or contiguous destitute counties in 22 provincial-level regions, benefiting 21.1516 million students. Also by the same time, local-level pilot programs for nutrition enhancement had been launched in 673 counties in 23 provinces, benefiting 10.9078 million students.

Third, left-behind children are taken good care of. The Central Government finance extended support to the implementation of the “Pilot Project of Community Care Services for Rural Left-Behind Children”, benefiting more than 200,000 left-behind children. Since 2014, All China National Women Federation has collected 67 million yuan in social charity funds to aid the establishment of 670 “Happy Homes for Children” across the country, and has launched a series of “love and care” activities, including acting mums, operations known as “love forever”, twinning and support, and help for children in need, benefiting 13.129 million left-behind children (persons-times). Besides, exclusive policies have been made to provide education for migrant children in the regions which they move to.

Fourth, female minors’ rights and interests are further protected. The 9th Amendment to the Criminal Law abolished the crime of prostituting female minors under the age of 14, improving the legal system on protecting female minors from sexual abuse. The State keeps launching special operations to combat attempts to identify the sex of a fetus for selective birth other than medical purposes and attempts to terminate a pregnancy once the sex of a fetus identified is not desired. In 2015, in terms of the gender ratio, for every 100 females there were 113.5 males, the 7th narrowing of the gap in a row since 2009.

Fifth, Spring Buds Program is implemented to help female children to realize self-development. Since 1989 when All China National Women Federation launched and organized the implementation of this Program, all together 1,402 Spring Buds Schools have been established with donations, aiding 2.811 million female children (persons-times) from poverty-stricken families in going back to school, and 529,000 female children received practical skills training as a result. From 2012 to 2015, over 300 Spring Buds Schools were built with donations and 600,000 Spring Buds Female Children (persons-times) were financially aided.

And sixth, efforts to protect, rescue and support minors have been further strengthened. By the end of 2015, there were 1,605 welfare institutions for children and 407 independent relief and protection agencies for minors nationwide. In 2015, the relief and protection institutions across the country provided children with relief 149,700 times. Efforts have been made to prevent AIDS/HIV-affected children from any form of discrimination and guarantee their equal access to compulsory education. From 2014 to 2015, the State solved 2,216 cases of abducting and trafficking in children. By the end of 2015, the national anti-trafficking DNA database had helped over 4,000 missing children find their parents. The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and other competent authorities concerned have successively promulgated the Opinions on Punishing in Accordance With Law the Crime of Sexual Assault Against Minors and the Opinions on Issues on Handling in Accordance With Law Acts of Guardians Violating Rights and Interests of Minors, so as to beef up judicial protection of juveniles. The Provisions for Prohibition of Using Child Labor are implemented, while the work of safeguarding the rights and interests of children in the field of labor has been further strengthened.             
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