|Remarks by H.E. Xi Jinping at the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality And Women's Empowerment|
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuk,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, it is of great significance for us to convene this Global Leaders' Meeting to reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and women's development and make plans for a better future.
Women are creators of material and spiritual wealth and represent an important force driving social development and progress. Without women, there would be no continuity of the human race or the human society.
The pursuit of gender equality is a great cause. A review of history shows that without women's liberation and progress, the liberation and progress of mankind would not be attainable. To achieve the lofty goal of gender equality, we have gone through an extraordinary and uphill journey. From the publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman over 200 years ago to the observance of International Women's Day on 8 March, from the establishment of the Commission on the Status of Women to the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, every step taken to promote women's cause has been a giant step forward for the progress of human civilization.
Twenty years ago, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 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. Today, the spirit championed by the Beijing Conference has catalyzed positive changes. The consensus among countries on pursuing gender equality is strengthening. More diversified actions have been taken to promote women's development. And the social context for women's life and development is improving. In this regard, UN Women should be fully recognized for the tremendous work it has done.
Thanks to persistent efforts over the years, dreams that were once beyond reach have come true: 143 countries have enshrined gender equality in their laws, thus removing legal barriers to women's participation in political and economic activities; and it has become a public consensus across the world for women to have access to education and freedom of marriage and employment.
In many parts of the world, however, disparities remain in the level of women's development, and inequality still exists between men and women in rights, opportunities and access to resources. People have yet to fully recognize women's potential, talent and contribution. Women account for over half of the 800 million impoverished population of the world. They tend to bear the brunt of wars and epidemics, and suffer deeply from terrorism and violence. As we speak, various forms of discrimination against women are still taking place. Abuses and inhuman treatment of women continue to occur from time to time.
All this shows that we still have a long way to go in achieving gender equality. We must work tirelessly to broaden the prospect for women's cause.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the Post-2015 Development Agenda we have just adopted, gender perspective has been included in all the items on the agenda. Let us reaffirm the spirit of the Beijing Conference with renewed commitment and pledge greater efforts to promote gender equality and women's all-round development.
First, we should strive for women's development in tandem with social and economic progress. Development cannot be achieved without women, and its benefit must be shared by all people, women included. We need to come up with more well-rounded development strategies that take into account national realities, gender differences and the special needs of women and aim to ensure women's equal share in the fruits of development. Policy measures should be updated to stimulate women's potential and raise their participation in the process of social and economic development. China's experiences show that a higher level of social and economic participation by women helps to raise their status, and it also boosts social productivity and invigorates the economy.
Second, we should protect women's rights and interests. Women's rights and interests are basic human rights. They must be protected by laws and regulations and integrated into national and social rules and norms. We must build up women's capacity of playing their part in the society and economy, involve women in higher levels of decision making and support them in becoming leaders in political, business and academic fields. We must ensure sufficient basic medical services for women, and pay particular attention to the health needs of rural women, women with disabilities, migrant women, middle-aged and senior women and women of ethnic minorities. We must ensure that school is affordable and safe for every girl, and develop vocational and life-long education for women to help them better adapt to changes in society and the job market.
Third, we should make efforts to build harmonious and inclusive societies. Men and women live in the same one world. A society with less discrimination or prejudice against women is often more inclusive and dynamic. We must eradicate all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence. We should focus on gender equality and dismiss outdated mentalities and customs inhibiting women's development. I appreciate Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's "He for She" Initiative, and hope more men will join in the action.
Fourth, we should foster a global environment favorable for women's development. Women and children are the ones who suffer most when peace or tranquility is disrupted. We must stand firmly for peace, development and win-win cooperation, cherish peace dearly and uphold it so that every woman and child will enjoy the sunshine of happiness and tranquility.
Women's organizations in different countries should strengthen interactions with each other to enhance friendship, pursue development and make progress together. We should continue to carry out women-related international development cooperation. Developed countries should scale up financial and technological assistance to developing countries and narrow the development gap among women in different countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the Chinese people pursue a happy life, every Chinese woman has the opportunities to excel in life and make their dream come true. China will do more to enhance gender equality as its basic state policy, give play to women's important role as "half of the sky" and support them in realizing their own dreams and aspirations in both career and life. The Chinese women, through their own development, will also play a greater part in global women's movement and make greater contribution to gender equality in the world.
To support women's development worldwide and the work of UN Women, China will donate US$10 million to UN Women for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action and the realization of the related goals in the post-2015 development agenda. In the coming five years, China will help other developing countries build 100 "health projects for women and children", send teams of medical experts to provide services, and implement 100 "happy campus projects" to finance the schooling of poor girls and raise girls' school enrollment rate. We will also host 30,000 women from developing countries for training programs in China and provide 100,000 skills training opportunities in local communities of other developing countries. Under the related fund co-sponsored by China and the UN, there will be special capacity building programs for women from developing countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let us work hand in hand and move faster to build a better world for women and for all of us!
I wish the Global Leaders' Meeting a full success.