In focus: Incentives & policies offered by People’s Republic of China for the development of women
The government in China puts clear focus on the development of women and, remains committed to protecting the rights of women. In fact, China has not only made gender equality one of its basic national policies, but has also incorporated development of women into the overall plan for national economic development.
The goal of the initiative realeased in 2015 – ‘Made in China 2025’ was to make China’s own industry competitive in new and high-tech sectors, and its policies often favour domestic and foreign companies.
The economic development in China has been driven by SMEs. Today, entrepreneurial behaviour is big, as a major section of the country’s GDP comes from privately-owned businesses. Business acumen is commonly observed among Chinese entrepreneurs. This is considered one prominent characteristic of success. Very proactively, the Chinese government has been enforcing entrepreneur-friendly measures for both local and international companies. Some of these measures include – helping young people to incubate their ideas, supporting creativity and innovation, and offering business subsidies. These measures make China great for local entrepreneurs and, foreign entrepreneurs too.
In China, women have equal rights as men in all fields of life. And neither private nor state-owned SMEs can develop without support from the Chinese government. So, here both society and the economy have evolved at a fast pace in recent past. And in the last decade, record numbers of women are starting their own businesses. According to Xinhua Net, the share of women entrepreneurs in China’s online sector has reached 55%. As e-commerce continues to grow, more entrepreneurial opportunities for women are set to emerge.
Here are some incentives and policies that the People’s Republic of China offers entrepreneurs.
> ‘She Economy’
It is seen that China’s ‘She economy’ booms as young and financially-independent women finance their projects. It is a known fact today that – female millennials and Gen Z increasingly find happiness and self-fulfillment on their own terms, and it has reshaped China’s economy. Chinese women comprise the world’s third-largest consumer market, close to the combined retail markets of Germany, France and the United Kingdom. And, significantly, China has one of the most active groups of women entrepreneurs in the world.
> Policies & Measures for Gender Equality and Development of Women
In 1995 and 2002, the Chinese government had devised – the “National Program for them. Development of Women (1995-2000)” and “the National Program for the Development of Women (2001-2010)”, which covered 34 major objectives in the political, economic, education, health, social and other fields. Relevant goals in the National Programs were incorporated in “the Tenth Five-Year Plan Outline for the National Economic and Social Development”.
“The National Program for the Development of Women” is a program of action promoting women’s development at the state-level. Since the launch of the Program, local governments and concerned departments formulated regional and sectoral plans – to suit the requirements of the program of the region.
To implement “the National Program for the Development of Women”, governments and departments concerned at various levels took concrete measures to intensify their efforts in promoting women’s participation in decision-making, protecting women’s equal access to economic resources and employment, developing women’s education, safeguarding the rights and interests of women workers and their community health service network, raising the level of women’s health to improve women’s living environment, and firmly cracking down on the illegal and criminal activities against women’s personal rights – thus, achieving a remarkable success in the advancement of women.
> Cash Incentives for startups
China is spending heavily to nurture start-up companies. This is because the central government hopes that the outpouring of money, supporting private entrepreneurs can help to generate and boost growth opportunities for the slowing economy.
The country now runs at least 1,500 incubators under the Ministry of Science and Technology’s 27-year-old Torch Programme – a nationwide initiative that provides policy, financing and consulting services for hi-tech firms. Beijing is growing that number by 15 per cent every year, according to the ministry, which also runs an innovation fund that has channelled 3.45 billion yuan (HK$4.36 billion) of investment into more than 3,000 projects in emerging industries.
The government’s investment in young companies is part of a larger push – to develop an innovation-driven economy.
> All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF)
The All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was founded on April 3, 1949. This
organization unites Chinese women of all ethnic groups and works for their liberation
and development. The mission of ACWF is:
-to represent and uphold women’s rights and interests &
-to promote equality between women and men.
The main tasks are: to unite and mobilize women to push China’s reform, opening-up, and all-around economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress, and play a positive role practising socialism, in typical Chinese style. It also aims to represent women in democratic decision-making, administration and oversight of state and social affairs, participate in developing relevant laws, regulations and rules, and policies, take part in social management and public services, and promote the implementation of laws and policies protecting women’s rights and interests and national program for the development of women & children.
> Promoting benefits for women
The good news is that over the past decade, benefits to Chinese women have increased. This is evident in some facts and statistics. During this time, women’s federations at various levels in China have launched over 200,000 practical skill-training sessions in rural areas, benefiting nearly 20 million women trainees, according to the All-China Women’s Federation.
The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) for National Economic and Social Development and the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development included plans for promoting the development of women, children and families. These plans also helped lay the ground for promoting women, children and families’ development, keeping in line with economic and social development.
The National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council formulated the China National Program for Women’s Development (2021-2030). Through this, the committee set goals and strategies – for women’s development in health, education, the economy and various other fields.
China has constantly cemented the legal assurance of gender equality and women’s rights and interests.
> Youth Business China (YBC)
Youth Business China (YBC), is a non-profit program in the People’s Republic of China that is headquartered in Beijing. Basically it has the worked out the objective – to promote youth entrepreneurship.
YBC was initiated by the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF), the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and other agencies in November 2003. And, YBC is implemented by the China Youth & Children Foundation for Social Education.
Specifically, YBC provides business mentoring, seed money, skills training and network support to young entrepreneurs, thus helps them succeed in business start-ups. YBC helps young people aged between 18 – 35 who are unemployed, or under-employed. This is particularly helpful for those who have a business idea and a passion for entrepreneurship, but unfortunately, who lack business experience and have no access to seed money.