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China

MDG 3:  Promote Gender Equality and Empower Woman 

Disclaimer: Some of the MDG data presented in this website have been adjusted by the responsible specialized agencies to ensure international comparability, in compliance with their shared mandate to assess progress towards the MDGs at the regional and global levels.[1]

 

Target 3a: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

 

Indicators (United Nations)

3.1  RATIOS OF GIRLS TO BOYS IN EDUCATION

  1. Primary  :
    1. 2000: 1.03[2]
    2. 2005: 1.04[3]
    3. 2008: 1.04[4]
  2. Secondary: 
    1. 2000: 0.95[5]
    2. 2005: 1.03[6]
    3. 2007:1.05[7]
  3. Tertiary:
    1. 2000:
    2. 2005: 0.91[8]
    3. 2008: 1.04[9]

Women’s share of tertiary enrolment in comparison to secondary enrolment drops slightly (between 0.1% - 2%) in China.

 Education of girls living in rural and remote areas and less-developed regions is an important issue in China. In China as the cost of education is borne by the local government, whereby the richer and more developed regions and counties would have better systems and institutions and access as compared to the poorer regions and counties. “Girls in poor regions and among poor families tend to have a higher drop-out rate. The dropout rate for girls aged 7–12 in poor counties is two percent higher than for boys, and the rate for girls aged 13–15 was 5 percentage points higher than their male counterparts.”[10] 

 

 

3.2 SHARE OF WOMEN IN WAGE EMPLOYMENT IN THE NON-AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

  1. 2000:
  2. 2005:
  3. 2008:              

 

Critical Indicators to monitor labour force participation

      3.2.1 Labour Force Participation:

Labour Force Participation:

  1. Female Economic Activity rate: 53.7%[11]
  2. Change in Economic Activity Rate using index (1990 = 100) 2005: 114[12]
  3. As % of male rate 2005: 76%[13]

Women’s participation in the labour force decreased in China 1990 and 2005[14]

 

Voices from the ground:

  

News/MagazineArticles:

a.    This article gives facts and details on women working in China, their working conditions, the low wages they receive as well as the discrimination they face. Read here 

 

 

3.3 PROPORTION OF SEATS HELD BY WOMEN IN NATIONAL PARLIAMENT

  1. 2000: 21.8[15]
  2. 2005: 20.2[16]
  3. 2010: 21.3[17]   

As with many countries in Asia, decision-making and political power in China is still firmly held within the grasp of men, with only 21.3% of women holding seats in the national parliament in 2010. Furthermore, the proportion of seats held by women actually declined from 21.8% in 2000 to 20.2% in 2005. It recovered slightly to 21.3% in 2010 but still did not match 2000 levels. This is still a long way to go to 50% by 2015.

 

Critical indicators to monitor women’s legislation

3.3.1 Laws on equality; protecting women from violence[18]:

a.    Domestic Violence:  Within the law on the protection of the rights and interests of women, as amended in 2005; Within the marriage law of the People’s Republic of China, as amended in 2001

b.    Anti-Rape: Rape, whether committed by violence, coercion, or other forcible means, is punishable by a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment

c.    Anti-Marital Rape: There are currently no anti-marital rape laws in China

d.    Anti-Sexual Harassment: There are currently no anti-sexual harassment laws in China

e.    Anti-Trafficking: Amendments to Penal Code 1997 Regarding Trafficking

In China, according to reports by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF,) domestic violence occurs in three out of every ten families and is cited in three- fifths of China’s divorce cases. There is no specific national legislation on domestic violence, but the constitution, the Marriage Law, and the Criminal Law address the issue. The constitution and the Marriage Law prohibit the “maltreatment of … women and children.” The Criminal Law provides that serious mistreatment of a family member is a crime punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment, or seven years imprisonment if serious injury or death is caused. The perpetrator may be given a lesser prison sentence, placed under criminal detention, or subjected to close monitoring by the police with restrictions on his or her mobility and other rights.[19]

In China, rape, whether committed by violence, coercion, or other forcible means, is punishable by a minimum of three years’ and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. Sexual relations with a girl under the age of 14 is regarded as rape and is punishable by a more severe sentence—either a minimum of ten years’ imprisonment, life imprisonment, or death. Harsher penalties are imposed if rape occurs under several circumstances, including: the rape of a woman “before the public in a public place;” the rape of a woman by “one or more persons in succession;” and causing the victim serious injury, death, or other serious consequences. While the general age for criminal responsibility is 18, for certain serious crimes, including rape, the age is lowered to 14. A person between the ages of 14 and 18 who commits rape is, however, subject to a reduced sentence[20] China has no legal provisions for marital rape and the main reason for this is in deference to a prevailing cultural perception that wives are supposed to submit to their husband’s wishes in matters of sexual relations and hence, there is no such concept of ‘rape’ within marriage or ‘rape’ being considered a form of violence within the marriage.[21]

In China, laws on trafficking are part of penal code.[22] In China, “trafficking in women and children remains a problem. The majority of trafficking cases occur when girls and women migrate from their villages in search of work and are lured into sexual slavery or other unacceptable work. Furthermore, considering the sex ratio imbalance at birth, it is likely that there will be a substantial number of men in the future who will not have female counterparts in their age group. The shortage of girls/women will likely increase the demand for trafficking of women for marriage and prostitution. Although the number of reported cases of kidnapping and selling women, particularly for marriage purposes, dropped from 17, 963 (2000) to 3,056 (2002), there is evidence that girls and young women are increasingly trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation. Trafficking in children also is on the increase. Many unknowns remain in the area of trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation, and further research is suggested.”[23] 

  

3.3.2 National Machineries on Women:

 There is a National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW) under the State Council.[24] In China, “the women’s unions and women’s federations permeate the entire government structure from the national to the village levels to ensure the incorporation of gender issues and concerns into policy formulation, programme implementation and service provision.”[25]

 It must be noted that this machinery should be “closely monitored and evaluated from time to time to ensure that gender concerns are indeed incorporated in national and sub-national legislation, national and local government policies and plans, and budgetary allocations.” We must also look into whether these structures are considered “as powerful as the traditional ministries of finance, defense or public works.”[26] Whether these structures also enable meaningful and substantive civil society participation, particularly of women’s NGOs, is also another issue to consider.

 

 

3.4 Additional indicator for gender equality for sexual and reproductive health and rights

The third MDG deals with the status of women in society and aims to promote gender equality and empower women.

However achievement of gender equality is not only about sending girls to school, women to the workplace and to parliament.

Everyday, many women continue to face inequalities and inequities within the family and society that they live in.

Many issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights are in essence gender equality issues as well as health issues. Sexual and reproductive health outcomes are results of power inequalities which have a negative impact on women’s health.

Issues of contraception such as male participation in contraception and spousal opposition to contraception (which is addressed in the MDG 5 pages) are gender issues.

Maternal deaths is a demonstratable issue of gender inequality. And as only women ‘can die’ from maternal deaths, a lack of access to life-saving procedures and medicines can amount to ‘discrimination’.

Violence is a reflection of power inequalities in society and comparably more women then men continue to be targets. Violence against women often results in physical and mental ill-health as well as death.

Recognition of women’s autonomy over her sexual life and her sexuality is also unequal to that of men, and can result in both sexual and reproductive ill-health for women.

However, all of these issues are addressed neither in the goal on gender equality nor in the goal on maternal and reproductive health. We have tried to incorporate some perspectives on these on the pages on MDG 3 & 5.

One such critical indicator for which data is readily available is:

 

3.4.1 Male Contraception as % of total contraception:

 

  1. Condom Users as proportion of all contraceptive users is 5.76%[27] 
  2. Vasectomy as proportion of all contraceptive users is 7.42%[28] 

In China, condom users as a proportion of all contraception users is 5.76%, while male sterilisation users as proportion of all contraception users is at 7.42%.[29] While these figures are better compared with other Asian countries (male sterilisation in China is the second highest in 12 Asian countries reviewed by ARROW, although condom use is the fifth lowest of 12 countries reviewed), these are still nowhere near the desired ideal of having both men and women share equal responsibility over sexual and reproductive health decisions. 





[1]Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[2] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[3] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[4] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[5] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[6] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[7] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[8] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[9] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[10] Human Rights in China (HRIC). (2006). Article 10: Education. In Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the People’s Republic of China. A parallel NGO Report by Human Rights in China. (pp. 8). Hong Kong: HRIC

[11] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2007). Gender Inequality in Economic Activity. In Human Development Report 2007/2008. Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World. (pp. 338 - 41). New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan

[12] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2007). Gender Inequality in Economic Activity. In Human Development Report 2007/2008. Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World. (pp. 338 - 41). New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan

[13] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2007). Gender Inequality in Economic Activity. In Human Development Report 2007/2008. Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World. (pp. 338 - 41). New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan

[14] Thanenthiran, Sivananthi; Racherla Sai Jyothirmai. (2009). Chapter 2: Regional Context for the Realisation of sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Women’s Empowerment and Health Financing. In The State of the Region Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights-Monitoring ICPD+15 in Asia (Unpublished) (p.20). Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)

[15] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[16] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[17] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from Millennium Development Goals Indicators official site for United Nations’ MDG Indicators Web site: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

[18]The UN Secretary-General’s Database on Violence Against Women. Retrieved 17 July, 2010, from The Secretary-General’s Database on Violence Against Women Web site: http://webapps01.un.org/vawdatabase/advancedSearch.action

[19] The Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR); The Asian-Pacific Resource Centre for Women (ARROW). (2005). China, Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives, East and South East Asia. (pp. 61) New York, USA: CRR

[20] The Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR); The Asian-Pacific Resource Centre for Women (ARROW). (2005). China. Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives, East and South East Asia (pp. 61). New York, USA: CRR

[21] Thanenthiran, Sivananthi; Racherla Sai Jyothirmai. (2009). Chapter 4: Sexual Health and Rights. In The State of the Region Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights-Monitoring ICPD+15 in Asia (Unpublished) (p.126). Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)

[22] Thanenthiran, Sivananthi; Racherla Sai Jyothirmai. (2009). Chapter 4: Sexual Health and Rights. In The State of the Region Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights-Monitoring ICPD+15 in Asia (Unpublished) (p.128). Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)

[23] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. (2005). Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. China’s Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals 2005 (pp. 40). Beijing, China: Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China; Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in China

[24] Government of China. (2004). In consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Combined fifth and sixth periodic report of States Parties – China. China: Government of China

[25] Government of China. (2004). In consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Combined fifth and sixth periodic report of States Parties – China. China: Government of China

[26] Thanenthiran, Sivananthi and Racherla, Sai Jyothirmai. 2009. Reclaiming and Redefining Rights, ICPD+15: Status of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Asia. Malaysia: ARROW

[27] World Contraceptive Use. (2007). Retrieved July 18, 2010, from United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division Web site: http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/contraceptive2007/contraceptive_2007_table.pdf

[28] World Contraceptive Use. (2007). Retrieved July 18, 2010, from United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division Web site: http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/contraceptive2007/contraceptive_2007_table.pdf

[29] Thanenthiran, Sivananthi and Racherla, Sai Jyothirmai. 2009. Reclaiming and Redefining Rights, ICPD+15: Status of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Asia. Malaysia: ARROW

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