Statement

Opening Remarks by Ms. Navchaa Suren, UNFPA China Officer-in-Charge at the Workshop on Male Involvement in Gender Equality

3 December 2020
Group photo of the Workshop on Male Involvement in Gender Equality, Beijing, China, 3 December 2020.

Beijing, China

Distinguished Ms. Lan Qing, Deputy Director General of Rights and Interests Department of All-China Women's Federation,
Distinguished Dr. Fang Gang, Founder of China White Ribbon Volunteers Network, 
Dear friends, colleagues, ladies and gentleman,

Good morning! 

On behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), it is my honor to welcome all of you to this Workshop on Male Involvement in Gender Equality during the 16 Days of Activism against GBV. The workshop is organized jointly with China White Ribbon Volunteers Network and we are pleased to meet with China White Ribbon network volunteers from all over the country who are here with us today. We will hear their experiences and stories about how they engage men and boys in addressing gender-based violence in China.  

Violence against women and girls happens everywhere to women and girls of all backgrounds. Globally 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime.  In the past year, 243 million women and girls were abused by their intimate partners.  In China, we know that domestic violence is prevalent and as per the 2011 women’s status survey, 24.7% or one in four women experienced various forms of domestic violence by their spouses, including verbal, physical, economic or sexual violence. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing gender-based violence, not only increasing risk and exposure to GBV but also limiting victims’ ability to distance themselves from their abusers as well as their ability to access services and support.

The elimination of violence against women and girls, and harmful practices is one of the three transformative results that UNFPA supports countries to achieve by 2030. Currently, UNFPA supports programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in over 130 countries. Our support includes protection and promotion of rights of women and girls to live free of abuse and violence, support for improving legal environment and policies on GBV, support for essential medical and psychological support services to survivors. For instance, the Essential Services Package for women and girls subject to violence which brings multiple sectors – police and justice, health, social services - together to provide comprehensive and coordinated response to those who have experienced gender-based violence. UNFPA supports data collection and analysis on GBV for advocacy and programming. 

It is evident that we can’t win the battle against gender-based violence without the involvement of men and boys. 

In many societies and communities, men often have power over many aspects of women’s lives. It is also often men who control access to information and services, assets, finances, and other resources. 

Many research findings show that there is a close link between the experience of living through violence during childhood and acts of violence committed as an adult. 

Research also shows that if men are involved, then many welcome the norm of having mutually respectful relationships built on the basis of trust and communication. Young men oppose violence against women & girls and harmful practices more than their older generations. UNFPA’s work in this field that male leaders can become advocates for women’s rights and gender equality issues including addressing violence against women. 

Gender equality cannot be achieved without the involvement of men and boys. Change is slowly taking place, and men are increasingly working alongside women to address GBV. Many UNFPA programmes promote men and boys’ involvement in addressing gender inequality, GBV and harmful practices against women and girls. In China, UNFPA supports initiatives facilitating men’s and boys’ engagement in prevention of GBV and promotion of gender equality through collaboration with various stakeholders and civil society organizations. With support of UNFPA, the China White Ribbon Volunteers Network was established in 2013 as part of male-led movement to end violence against women and girls.  We are extremely pleased to see that China White Ribbon network has grown to a bigger movement with over 4,000 registered volunteers in over 80 service stations across China. It has successfully mobilized support from and partnered with different stakeholders for provision of various services and activities targeting men and boys and contributing the fight against GBV in China. We acknowledge and congratulate China White Ribbon Network for the amazing work they are doing. 

Everyone has a role to play and we recognize that men and boys have a critical role to play to end gender-based violence – not only as partners but also as agents of positive changes.  

We look forward to continued partnership with China White Ribbon network and other stakeholders to end violence against women and girls in China! 
 
Wishing a successful engagement today and thank you.