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Adding a Gender Perspective to China’s Belt and Road Initiative as an International Human Rights Obligation

In: Frontiers of Law in China
Author:
Lu Haina
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China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has a significant impact on the gender equality of receiving countries. It is noted that many BRI countries are facing challenges to realizing gender equality. Nevertheless, China has not developed a gender-mainstreaming or rights-based approach to implement the BRI. Hence, this paper argues that it is China’s international human rights obligation to develop such an approach and the country should adopt a gender policy in its BRI to ensure that its overseas investments and aid programs respect and promote gender equality. First, this paper maps China’s overseas investments and aid globally and particularly in BRI countries, and examines, in general, how the BRI may have an impact on gender equality both globally and in BRI countries. Second, the paper reviews international standards on gender equality in transnational trade and foreign investment and aid projects in the context of international human rights’ norms. It clarifies China’s obligations to promote gender equality within the BRI framework under international law. Third, based on the aforementioned findings, this paper conducts a gap analysis on the gender policy followed by China’s overseas investment and aid programs set within the context of international standards. Finally, the paper recommends some possible policy steps to ensure gender equality is mainstreamed in BRI projects of China.

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