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China to offer compulsory education to 95 percent of girls

(Xinhua)

11:19, August 09, 2011

Actresses make up themselves at a herdsmen cultural festival and a tourism festival held in Dulan County of Haixi Prefecture, northwest China's Qinghai Province, Aug. 8, 2011. The 9th edition of Haixi's herdsmen cultural festival and the 2nd Dulan tourism festival opened in Dulan on Monday, attracting thousands of local herdsmen, residents and tourists. (Xinhua/Zhang Yanhui)

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- An official document released on Monday pledged that the government will endeavor to provide compulsory education to 95 percent of Chinese girls over the next ten years.

The Outline for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-2020) issued by the State Council, or China's cabinet, said that the government will continue to promote equal opportunity for nine years of free schooling for all children, but especially for girls, who are more likely to drop out.

The outline said the government has set a target to promote the enrollment rate of female students to 90 percent for high school and 40 percent for college by 2020.

The illiteracy rate of female young adults will be reduced to below 2 percent, it added.

Deep-rooted parental discrimination toward girls, especially in China's rural areas, has hindered many from receiving a high school education, and some parents even fail to allow their daughters with disabilities to complete the nation's compulsory education level.

The government said on Monday that the basic objectives of its previous Outline for the Development of Chinese Women (2001-2010) had been achieved, although discrimination against females persists in society in areas such as employment.

"The concept of gender equality has been widely spread and accepted by more people over the past ten years." it said. "But female participation in decision-making and management, their opportunities to attain higher educational levels, and the protection of their social security are comparatively lower than those of males," the document said.

The new outline sets a target to realize a hospital-birth rate of more than 98 percent by the year of 2020.

For those living in rural areas, the rate is being targeted at 96 percent, it said, adding that medical services for birthing women will be improved.

The document also pledged to reduce the rate of induced abortion, and enhance education among men for contraception and women for prevention and control of AIDS and other diseases.

In 2005, China passed the Law on Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, a law focused on women's welfare.

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