Expert Expects Cooperation Among Gov't, Market, Family on Women's Welfare

September 30, 2018  By Huang Guixia  Editor: Xie Wen

Huang Guixia, a researcher at the Women's Studies Institute of China, recently pointed out that government, market and families should share responsibilities in ensuring women's welfare in an effort to promote women's full and comprehensive development.

Women's welfare refers to the legal system, policies and measures established by the State and society to liberate women, meet the needs of women's lives and development, and continuously improve the quality of women's lives, which have played a different social role in various stages of social development in China.

Women's welfare covers all areas of women's production, life and development, including social insurance and social assistance that provide basic guarantees, as well as social policies and services that strengthen the ability development of individuals and promote women's development and gender equality. The content and level of women's welfare are also affected by factors such as the level of economic development, demographic composition, social policies, and social values.

The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) once again emphasizes on adhering to the basic national policy of equality between men and women and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of women and children.

In the new era, the main factors that handicap the development of gender equality and women's development are inadequate women's development and imbalance of men's and women's development. Therefore the government needs to further implement the basic national policy of equality between men and women, vigorously develop women's welfare, and provide more support and guarantee for women's full and comprehensive development.

The protection of women's rights is part of women's welfare, which refers to all rights and interests related to women with respect to politics, economy, culture, and reflected in equal participation in social public affairs, equal employment rights, and equal access to education, medical and health services.

Women's welfare asserted by the CPC mainly refers to the theoretical claims and practical experience of safeguarding women's rights and interests based on the Marxist theory of women's liberation and manifested in women's employment in different historical stages of Chinese revolution and construction, such as labor protection, social security, especially maternity protection and regulations in other different areas and aspects.

Under the leadership of the CPC, the development of Chinese women's welfare begins with the basic right to subsistence, and soon extends to rights that guarantee economic independence including equal employment, land rights, and the like, as well as the rights to education and political participation, which are secured under the legal protection of the ruling Party.

During the period of socialism with Chinese characteristics, women's welfare has seen greater emphasis on the establishment of a people-oriented concept for women's development, the strengthened rule of law to protect women's rights and interests, the importance attached to the social value of childbearing, the continuously improved women's labor protection system, the promotion of socialization of maternity insurance, and the move toward legalization, socialization and institutionalization of women's welfare. In the period of economic transformation, women's welfare development also faces challenges such as heavy individual and family responsibilities, refined childcare, and the aging population, all adding to the burden of family care.

To address these problems, a welfare system that shares the responsibility of women's welfare between the government, the market, and the family should be established to provide more support and guarantee for the full development and comprehensive development of women.

From the perspective of social development, the process of China's transition from planned economy to market economy is also a process in which the government gradually decentralizes the market, and also a process of transfer of welfare functions to the market to a large extent.

However, the market is more willing to choose men with low labor costs and higher market returns. And the fact of men having no birth stress and family care burden has exacerbated women's weakness in the labor market and redistribution, hence the  bottleneck of women's welfare development.

The report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC clearly points out that the main contradiction in our society in the new era is the contradiction between the people's growing needs for a better life and the inadequate and unbalanced development. The contradiction between women's demand for a better life and the inadequate and unbalanced development requires cooperation between the government, the market and the family.

For this purpose, as the main support for the development of women's welfare, the governments should monitor and evaluate the welfare provided by the market and social organizations so as to provide corresponding support for family welfare; they also need to play a leading role in various social sectors, especially in ensuring women's equal rights to work and social security, as well as equal rights to benefits with men.

Furthermore, officials need to attach importance to the role of the market in the provision of women's welfare. To provide equal rights and opportunities for their development, the government must establish and improve the social security system, lay the foundation for social justice, promote economic development and promote social harmony while increasing women's welfare; and take protective measures to protect special rights of women.

In addition, the government has to give full play to the role of family in the welfare of women. Family welfare, owing to its privatization, individualization and timely nature,  provides the best source of welfare, especially in terms of family care and spiritual comfort related to emotions, which is difficult for government, market and social organizations to substitute.

Thus it is necessary to attach great importance to family building, help to enhance the family stability, create family harmony and give full play to the welfare protection function of the family.

(Source: Translated and edited by Women of China)

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