By Xingyu Lu
Seats held by women in national parliament, percentage
In many of the countries in the world, women are still under represented in many aspects of their work and lives. Women need to have more seats in national legislations, which will force policy that gets passed more considerate towards women’s rights. The bad news is that globally, there is still a fairly large gap between the ideal and actual number of women who are elected to key national leadership offices. The good news is that there are some European countries that are in lead of electing women officials, and they are: “Sweden, Finland, Netherland, and Germany” of which over 35% female representation is at national level (Hill, 2014). More effort by countries, big organizations, and global companies needs to be put into recruiting, training, and taking care women when they are in a maternity leave so that an ecosystem in terms of gender can be eventually reached.
In China, situation is more severe and diversified. Limited resources combined with over one billion of people lead to gender inequality especially in rural areas which lack of poverty, and in China, half of the population is still rural. In rural areas, boys and girls are treated differently the moment when they are born. Parents under extreme poverty will only put their hope on their male children; as a result, boys will get the chance of education, work, and learning. On the contrary, girls’ fate is similar but unfortunate: before the age of 16, they are responsible for supporting their family. After that age, they usually get married, and the only task for them is to giving birth. The situation is totally different for upper, middle, and even lower class in China due to better education and the One-Child policy (now it has been loosed last year): the girl usually receives the best support that the family can potentially provide with. If the girl is hard-working enough, she can usually accomplish her goals. This portion of women is under much better situations than women in rural areas. No one knows that if women in rural areas were given the same opportunities, can they do better? The answer does not matter because even no attempt at discussing a possible resolution is made. Also, society has given many extra responsibilities which should be equally shared between men and women to women.
In year 2005, the State Council Information Office published a white paper named Gender Equality and Women’s Development in China. However, the implementation process takes time and challenges do emerge along the way. Recently, China’s new leaders have prioritized urbanization as the stimulus to Chinese economy. This is great because that indicates more vulnerable girls could accept basic education and the opportunity to empower themselves. Now China is also partnering with third party national wide organizations to promote women’s role in politics. China Women’s Federation plays an essential role in Unicef’s Water and Sanitation Program, Health and Nutrition Program, and Social Policy Program. Moreover, China is also developing an integrated Child Welfare system to help children in essential parts of their lives.
Gender equality in China may have a great potential, but as it stands The National People’s Congress still needs to fix the blatant inadequacies in their policy and get their priorities straight. Without more women holding seats in national offices, sub-par legislator and substandard service are all possible.