UN Population Fund (UNFPA) representative Siri Tellier said in Beijing on Wednesday that the government's efforts to build a harmonious society could help fight gender discrimination, echoing the theme of The State of World Population 2005 report released the same day.
Global efforts to "make poverty history" will fail unless world leaders act now to end discrimination, according to the report, produced annually by UNFPA since 1978.
This year's report, The Promise of Equality, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals, calls upon world leaders to fulfill promises made to the world's women.
Tellier said there is gender discrimination in all countries and "the emphasis by the Communist Party of China (CPC) on equitable development toward a harmonious society is very welcome in this respect."
While acknowledging China's tremendous strides in countering gender discrimination in the last half century, she also pointed out that many Chinese women are concerned that much recent economic progress is not benefiting everyone equitably, especially them.
Considering that reproductive health is an important part in ending gender discrimination, Tellier said "China has much to be proud of in terms of improving maternal mortality -- China has made more progress on this than most other countries."
"In some areas of the country, however, maternal mortality is quite high, and there are still counties that have not adopted the new approaches and where services and attitudes of service providers can be improved," said Tellier.
According to a white paper issued in August, in the past decade, the mortality rate of Chinese women in childbirth has declined steadily -- from 61.9 per 100,000 in 1995 to 48.3 per 100,000 in 2004.
(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2005)