Expression of miR-181a-5p associates with the proliferation and progression of cancer cells via its targets. This study was designed to investigate the effect of miR-181a-5p and its target inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase A (INPP5A) on the progression of cervical cancers. Upregulation of miR-181a-5p was revealed in the cervical cancer cell lines HeLa and SiHa in comparison with a normal cervical epithelium cell line End1/E6E7 (p < 0.001). The inhibition and upregulation of miR-181a-5p in cervical cancer cell lines significantly reduced or increased cell proliferation and invasion capacity, accompanied with enhanced or reduced apoptosis (p < 0.05). Moreover, INPP5A overexpression significantly inhibited cell proliferation and invasion capacity and enhanced cell apoptosis. The target relationship of miR-181a-5p to INPP5A was demonstrated by both the results of the Dual-Luciferase Reporter Assay and the fact that the miR-181a-5p mimic attenuated INPP5A's effect on cell proliferation, invasion, and apoptosis. To sum up, the overexpression of miR-181a-5p enhanced cell proliferation and invasion and inhibited apoptosis of cervical cancer cells by negatively targeting INPP5A. Therefore, inhibition of miR-181a-5p might benefit the inhibition of cervical cancer cell invasion.