Equality, Development and Sharing: Progress of Women's Cause in 70 Years Since New China's Founding
The rate of women enjoying high school and higher education has reached a record high. China attaches great importance to the development of education, with the opportunities for women to enjoy high school and higher education on a steady rise. In the past four decades since the reform and opening up, the country has made a vigorous effort to popularize high school education, giving more assistance to poor areas in central and western China and offering grants to students from impoverished families. As a result, opportunities for girls to receive high school education have remarkably increased. In 2017, the gross high school enrollment rate was 88.3%, with girls accounting for 47.7% of all students in high schools, and 50.9% of students in regular high schools were females. The Higher Education Law of the People's Republic of China promulgated in 1998 created conditions for more females to enjoy higher education by expanding the scale of higher education, promoting educational loan system, and offering students grants and scholarships. Women accounted for 52.5% of students in regular institutions of higher education, 28.4 percentage points higher than in 1978, 32.7 percentage points higher than in 1949; women accounted for 48.4% of postgraduate students, 29.8 percentage points higher than in 1985.
The number of women receiving vocational education and continued education has witnessed a marked increase. China has continuously worked to perfect laws and policies regarding vocational education, and gradually established and improved the vocational education system, which have increased the opportunities for women to receive vocational education. The Vocational Education Law of the People's Republic of China promulgated in 1996 states that the country takes measures to help women receive vocational education. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has attached more importance to the development of vocational education. The National Implementation Plan for Vocational Education Reform and the Special Implementation Plan for the Expansion of Enrollment by Higher Vocational Schools promulgated in 2019 expanded the scale of enrollment for higher vocational education, promoted the modernization of vocational education, and provided new opportunities for women to receive vocational education. In 2017, women accounted for 42.9% of students in secondary vocational schools. Over the past four decades since the reform and opening up, continued education has witnessed remarkable progress and has become an important channel for women to acquire knowledge, gain skills and improve their qualities. The number and proportion of women participating in higher continued education have both increased year-by-year. In 2017, women accounted for 58.8% of students in institutes for continued education, 27.3 percentage points higher than in 1988; 47.3% of students attending online higher continued education were women. Besides, women are widely attending non-degree education at all levels and of all categories.