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Gender equality and women’s empowerment

Gender equality is a human right. It is also a precondition for advancing development and reducing poverty. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities, and they improve prospects for future generations.

The work in this area contributes to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
This Goal includes targets calling for the end of all forms of discrimination against all women and girls, the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, and the elimination of all harmful practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-biased sex selection. It also calls for ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.


  • Enhanced policy environment in selected provinces, cities and countries to promote positive norm change to address gender discrimination, gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices, such as gender-biased sex selection (GBSS).


  • Strengthen policy environment to promote gender equality, prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
  • Advocate for effective policy response to address gender biased-sex selection (GBSS) and skewed sex ratio at birth (SRB).

Preventing and responding to gender-based violence in China

China’s first National Family Violence Law was adopted at the 18th Session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 27 December 2015, and entered into force on 1 March 2016.

The Law emphasizes the importance of prevention first, reporting and enforcement systems for dealing with family violence, and streamlining the processes and measures to protect those who experience family violence. Besides immediate family members, the Law covers unmarried couples that cohabitate, thus addressing violence outside of traditional family settings.

The effective implementation of this law on prevention and timely response measures will require close coordination and joint actions among relevant departments.

In CP8, building on its previous experience and support to pilot GBV responses, UNFPA will support policy advocacy for implementation of the national legislation on family violence. UNFPA’s strategies will include:

  • Support the implementation of the new law by facilitating multi-sectoral mechanisms and sectoral implementation guidelines, in collaboration with the All China Women’s Federation;
  • support policy research and studies to generate evidence to inform decision-making to prevent GBV;
  • engage public to promote positive gender norm changes through public engagement and working with media and the civil society

Addressing root causes of gender-biased sex selection

Strong son preference, combined with the use of modern technologies and the drop of China’s total fertility rate, has led to gender-biased sex selection (GBSS) resulting in persistently high skewed SRB. The consequences of a skewed SRB have had profound effects at the societal level as well as individual level, including a marriage squeeze, a large gender population gap, discrimination and violence against women, and violation of women and girls’ rights.

UNFPA will continue to support the following interventions to address GBSS:

  • Advocate and support strengthened multi-sectoral mechanism to address the imbalanced SRB in selected sites.
  • Provide technical assistance to strengthen evidence-based policy making and effective implementation of these policies.
  • Step up policy advocacy efforts based on policy research on various aspects of GBSS and SRB in the context of changing policy environment and rapid social transition in China.
  • Support grassroots engagement in addressing the imbalanced SRB and address the root causes of GBSS, through media, social media, partnerships with private sector and the civil society.
  • Facilitate international exchanges and dialogue on experiences, lessons learnt, and good practices in addressing GBSS and the imbalanced SRB between China and other countries with similar challenges.