First Lady Advocates Greater Global Efforts to Close Gender Gap
A conference in Beijing on Wednesday commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the fifth anniversary of the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. [Xinhua]
Peng Liyuan, the wife of President Xi Jinping, has called on the global community to offer women equal education and job opportunities as part of a broader effort to close the gender gap worldwide.
Peng, who is also a special envoy for the promotion of girls' and women's education for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said efforts are needed to coordinate the development of women's causes with socioeconomic achievements.
Countries also need to work together to bolster access to affordable healthcare — which helps reduce female poverty caused by crippling medical bills－and foster a social culture free of gender-based biases, she said at a conference in Beijing in a prerecorded speech on Wednesday.
The event was jointly held by the All-China Women's Federation and UN Women, a United Nations organization dedicated to boosting gender equality and empowering women, at the Great Hall of the People.
The meeting aimed to share experience in curbing female impoverishment, as well as progress in delivering promises made at two meetings on gender equality — the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in 2015.
The first three world conferences on women were held in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1975; Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1980; and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985.
The fourth and most recent, held in Beijing, was described by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, undersecretary-general of the UN and executive director of UN Women, in a video speech on Wednesday as the "largest-ever global gathering" on gender equality.
At the meeting, the UN adopted the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, laying down strategic goals and policy frameworks for promoting gender equality and ensuring women's rights.
In her address at Wednesday's gathering, which had the theme "Women and Poverty Reduction in the 21st Century," Peng said the two meetings were landmarks in promoting the global cause of women. She said their influence in boosting women's rights, liberation and progress had been lasting.
Over the past 25 years, much progress has been made globally in promoting consensus on gender equality, launching more powerful women's development plans and improving the social context for women's quality of life and development, she said.
Peng said China has been an active promoter of the globalwomen's cause and a front-runner in curbing female poverty.
She said the nation has rolled out multiple measures in areas including economic development, employment, education, social security, healthcare and charities to bolster women's economic standing as part of the nationwide anti-poverty drive that aims to end domestic poverty by the end of the year. Of the 700 million people who have been lifted out of extreme poverty since the founding of the People's Republic China in 1949, about half are women.
Despite progress, Peng said there's still a huge gender gap worldwide in areas including rights, opportunities and resource allocation, and impoverished women far outnumber their male counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic has also posed new challenges to female poverty alleviation, education, healthcare and employment.
Mlambo-Ngcuka lauded China's achievement in lifting around 41 million women out of poverty since 2012 by creating jobs and opportunities for income generation. The country has also made major progress in education parity and access to sexual and reproductive health, she said.
She commended the Chinese government for its commitment to poverty relief, and urged the nation to continue its support for women's leadership and global cooperation on women's affairs through the South-South cooperation mechanism, adding that challenges remain in curbing female poverty in the wake of the pandemic.
Shen Yueyue, President of the All-China Women's Federation, addressed the gathering in person. Speakers also included Thailand's Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who delivered speeches via video links.
(Source: China Daily)
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