Children's healthy development of vital importance to families, society, Li says
The State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday adopted the Outline for Women's Development in China (2021-30) and the Outline for Children's Development in China (2021-30), and required improving support measures for the third-child policy.
"We must put a high premium on work related to women and children, as it is an important part of our modernization drive and a symbol for social progress. The principle of gender equality and putting children first should be better manifested in social life," Li said.
The basic State policy of gender equality must be delivered and that women's equal rights to education, employment, starting businesses and participation in decision-making and management must be protected, according to the outlines. In addition, equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value will be fully implemented.
Furthermore, public services that support the comprehensive development of families and women will be expanded, and the social security system will be improved to meet women's special needs, according to the outlines. Basic support and services for women facing difficulties will be strengthened and the legal system protecting women's lawful rights and interests refined.
"There must be institutional arrangements to protect women's rights and interests. Competent departments must provide support," Li said.
Greater emphasis must be given to the all-around protection of children in the family, schools and society and on the internet, the meeting decided. Compulsory education will remain the top priority of education investment, and children's well-rounded development in terms of moral grounding, intellectual and physical ability, aesthetic sensibility and work skills will be promoted.
In addition, the health services system for children must be enhanced to ensure the safety of food and products for children. The rights to survival, development and safety, and the interests of orphans, unattended children, children with disabilities and homeless children must be protected. Greater care and protection will be extended to left-behind children of migrant workers, and school bullying must be prevented and effectively dealt with, the outlines stated.
"There are 250 million children in China. Their healthy development is of vital importance to families and the whole society," Li said. "We should focus our efforts on tackling the prominent issues that constrain the development of women's and children's affairs."
The two outlines call for updating the support measures in executing the third-child policy. Maternity leave and childbirth allowance will be implemented and parental leave explored. Public-benefit child care services will be developed with the support of communities.
Expenses for infant and child care services for children under 3 years old will be eligible for extra itemized individual income tax deductions. Housing and other support policies will be strengthened. Multipronged steps will be taken to lighten families' burdens in child bearing, child care and children's education.
"Support measures for the third-child policy should be carefully studied to steadily optimize the demographic mix and raise people's educational level," Li said.