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Social Pensions for Female Seniors: How Have They Changed in Past 20 Yrs?
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2016-4-29-
Title: Social Pensions for Female Seniors: How Have They Changed in Past 20 Yrs?
Source: China Women's News
Release Date: April 29, 2016
Keyword: Social Pensions, Female Seniors, 20 Years
Providing social security for old-age citizens is a crucial part of China's welfare system. It aims to give seniors financial support and keep them out of poverty. 
Gender Differences Exist in China's Security for Seniors
According to different classifications, pensions and social insurance in China can be divided into two categories: the employment-related basic pension insurance system for workers, and the senior insurance system for public servants in government bodies and institutions. There is also an ID-related pension insurance system for urban residents, and a new pension insurance system for rural residents.
Since pensions and employment are closely related, gender differences in the labor market have become apparent. These gender differences are reflected in participation rates and insurance levels, as the latest data shows. 
For the past 20 years, the coverage rate of the pension insurance system has increased from 44 percent in 1996 to 63 percent in 2013, across all citizens. Insurance participants have risen from 87.58 million in 1996 to 382.4 million in 2013. But, taking into account both the coverage rate and the benefits of individuals' pension insurance, the system currently benefits men more than women. 
Gender Differences in Seniors' Security Narrow
Based on data from the 1st Survey of Chinese Women's Social Status conducted in 1990, the percentage of women enjoying pension security in work units was 19.8 percent, 5.3 percentage points lower than men. In 2010, the proportion of women who enjoy pension security is up to 50.2 percent, still 1.4 percentage points lower than that of men. However, gender differences are reducing gradually. 
Big Differences in Pension Security Between Urban and Rural Areas
Based on data from a women's social status survey in 2010, about 73.3 percent of urban women and only 31.1 percent of rural women enjoy social pension security. 
While the overall level of insured persons was generally lower in 2000, the coverage rate for urban professional women was 67.4 percent, while for working women in rural areas the figure was only 28.6 percent.
Gender Differences in Urban Pension Security
The surveys indicate that pension security closely relates with education. In general, people who have a higher education possess more opportunities to work in a good unit that has many benefits such as pensions. 
In the survey of 2010, about 54.4 percent of women with primary school education or below enjoy pension security, while the proportion for men is 60.9 percent. It indicates that the gender gap is reduced with the improvement of education level. 
While, in the survey of 2000, the percentage of women who received senior high school and technical secondary education was more than 10 percentage points lower than their male peers. 
Opinions to Eliminate Gender Differences in Pension System 
With the development of population and economic structure in the past 20 years, pension schemes in China have made great progress. But problems of low coverage rate, gender differences, and other influencing factors still exist, which hinder further development. 

As China has been experiencing an ageing population, it is imperative for the government to set up a comprehensive pension security plan and narrow the gap between men and women so as to help them share the achievements of social development fairly. 

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