PMC Statement on Gender Policies in China
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Statement from Population Media Center on China’s Gender and Population Policies

Nov 16, 2023

Population Media Center (PMC) expresses deep concern over the recent developments in China, particularly the emphasis placed on traditional gender roles and pro-natal policies during the National Women’s Congress. We believe that policies urging women to return to traditional roles at the expense of their autonomy and independence are regressive and rooted in patriarchal norms. 

It is essential to recognize that a woman’s worth and contribution to society extend far beyond her role in marriage and childrearing. The focus on keeping women in the home neglects the progress made in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. This approach not only hampers the fundamental rights of women but also undermines the diverse contributions they make to social, economic, and cultural spheres. 

Furthermore, linking demographic challenges solely to increased childbirth oversimplifies a complex issue. The belief that population growth is imperative for a healthy economy and planet is outdated. Numerous studies show that sustainable development can be achieved through thoughtful and inclusive policies that address social, economic, and environmental concerns without placing undue burdens on women. 

PMC advocates for policies that empower women, respect their choices, and contribute to the overall well-being of societies. We encourage governments, including China, to prioritize comprehensive measures that promote gender equality, reproductive rights, and sustainable development. It is crucial to embrace diversity and inclusivity while addressing demographic challenges rather than reverting to outdated and restrictive gender norms. 

PMC urges the Chinese government to reconsider its approach, engage in open dialogue with women and civil society, and work towards policies that respect individual choices and contribute to the advancement of a more equitable and sustainable society. 

Population Media Center (PMC) understands that the population issue is nested within a much larger, much more profound problem: the overexploitation of the Earth by humanity, also known as ecological overshoot. We can see the symptoms of this overshoot everywhere we look, from climate change, to species extinctions, to ocean acidification, to any number of poorly performing environmental health indicators. It all relates back to collective overexploitation of Earth by humans. 

The truth is that if humans were ethereal beings, who had no impact on the natural systems they are a part of, then there would be no problem with any number of people on the planet. Our concerns about population size and growth are rooted in our commitment to the long-term wellbeing of humanity, the health and integrity of Earth’s ecosystems, and the rights of other species to live freely and prosperously. We love people and planet and want the best possible life for everyone.