Liu Hongjie and Prime Sarmiento
Beijing: President Xi Jinping’s call for elimination of violence, discrimination and other forms of inequalities against women will consolidate global consensus on promoting gender equality and boost global action to further buttress the well-being of women, international experts said.
Xi made the remark in a video address at the High-Level Meeting on the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women organized by the United Nations General Assembly.
He also praised the contributions of female medical and epidemic control workers, researchers, community workers and volunteers throughout the world in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and underlined the need to minimize the pandemic’s impact on women.
Adhere Cavince, a scholar of international relations in Kenya, said that the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women comes at a time of unprecedented challenges, particularly for women and girls, as a result of the pandemic.
The present circumstances call for concerted and targeted measures to safeguard the rights and interests of women, just as Xi emphasized in his speech, he said.
Widespread economic disruptions created by the global health crisis mean that millions of women across the world who often earn less yet work under precarious job conditions are increasingly vulnerable and unable to effectively absorb the shock of the moment, the scholar said.
“Indeed, President Xi’s call for total elimination of violence, bias, discrimination and other forms of inequality against women should form national, regional and global action points to further buttress the well-being of women around the world,” he said.
Sivananthi Thanenthiran, executive director of the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, a Kuala Lumpur-based nonprofit group, said: “It is great to see that China is stepping up in order to support the cause of gender equality at the global level. This would influence many other countries also to step up.”
Thanenthiran said that COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on women. The burden of care at home has increased and also violence at home has increased due to lockdown measures. All of these can be expected to continue in the post-pandemic recovery period.
These are areas that governments should invest in while trying to grow back the economy, Thanenthiran said.
Dennis Munene, executive director of the China-Africa Center at the Africa Policy Institute, said that Xi’s clarion call to the global community is to emphasize the need for “promoting gender parity and women’s development”.
He is impressed that China has put in place a legal system comprising over 100 laws and regulations for fully protecting women’s rights and interests.
Gertrude Mongella, secretary-general of the Fourth World Conference on Women, said that Xi’s proposals have demonstrated the Chinese government’s long-held position of attaching importance to the development of the cause of women.
The women’s rights advocate in Tanzania also said that China has always been committed to improving women’s rights and interests and effectively lifting the status of women. She also said that China’s experience is very valuable for other countries.