According to statistics released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, there were a total of 702,000 social organizations in the country as of the end of 2016. In these, 7.37 million people are employed, with women accounting for about nearly 33 percent.
A survey among private institutions indicates that if informal staff, volunteers and part-time workers are included in the figures, then the proportion of women in social organizations rises to 70 percent. Therefore, females have become the main force of public welfare, and the majority of them are young and middle-aged women.
According to the data, women at the age of 21 to 30 are most likely to participate in the work of social organizations, accounting for 38.7 percent. Meanwhile, women at or below 20 account for only 1 percent.
These women are also highly educated with 75.7 percent of them having received undergraduate or higher education; 20.1 percent have attained a master's degree or above, and nearly 20 percent have overseas study or work experience. This figure is slightly lower than that of women of the new social stratum.
From the perspective of marriage and family, over half of the women serving at social organizations are married, which is equal to the ratio of women from new social stratum.
Among them, 76.9 percent have one child and 9.2 percent have two or more.
As for income, the earning capacity of women in social organizations is around mid-range. The annual income of 78.2 percent of women is less than 100,000 yuan; and 20 percent earn between 100,000-300,000 yuan, which is significantly lower than that of the overall level of women of the new social stratum.
As employees outside of state-owned enterprises, institutions and government agencies in cities, women in social organizations, like other women of the new social stratum, enjoy more work opportunities and personal growth space, as well as economic pressure and challenges concerning career prospects. In general, most are satisfied with the current situation, according to the results of the survey.
To be specific, they are most satisfied with their job stability, family relationships and health, whilst the main concerns are: career prospects, work-family considerations, housing and social security.
The study indicates that although women in social organizations are comparatively satisfied with the current working and living conditions, they still show considerable uncertainties about their future.
In daily life, they trust the power of law and government and tend to resort to formal and rational resolutions to protect their rights when these are violated.
Women usually practice in social organizations to recognize the values of public welfare, and choose to participate in related careers and achieve self-worth, and better make arrangements for work and family.
Some of these women were originally engaged in industries with fierce competition and high work intensity, such as finance and medical care. When they got married and became mothers, it was difficult to balance work and life because of the increased burden of household chores.
Considering that social organizations have certain flexibility in working hours and less pressure, they intend to find a position in social organizations. Even so, the personal career development prospects and the balance between work and family are still the main problems that plague them.
Like women of new social stratum, women working in social organizations tend to be positive, optimistic and ambitious. Most of them believe in individual struggles, spiritual pursuits, social morality, and well recognize the current national policies and social development conditions while maintaining a distinct sense of gender equality.
In addition, women in social organizations engage in a high level of participation in public activities, especially in public welfare undertakings such as poverty alleviation and education, which is significantly higher than the overall level of women in the new social stratum.
The related reasons of such behavior are claimed to be the sympathy and the enthusiasm of women towards public welfare, while their specific occupations in social organizations also give them more opportunities and resources to participate in such affairs. This shows that women in social organizations are a group of people with a strong sense of social responsibility, high participation rates, and strong organizational action power.
However, the channels and platforms provided by social organizations for female employees to participate in public affairs still have significant limitations. Like other women in the new social stratum, women in social organizations usually express their views on social issues on the internet, accounting for 74.1 percent, whilst only 15.7 percent of them would personally report to government departments or women's federations by letter or telephone. Those who choose to make proposals to NPC deputies or CPPCC members only account for 6.5 percent. This shows that the public participation platform and interests expression channels of women in social organizations need to be broadened.
Judging from the results of this survey, women in social organizations are a highly gender-conscious group and an important force in social governance in the new era. However, they still face some barriers in areas of career development, balance between family and work, and social security, which needed to be resolved with the joint efforts of the Party, the government, and women's federations.
The officials must improve the policy system that supports the development of social organizations; and introduce and improve incentive policies, enhance the career development prospects of social organizations, and promote the development of women's talents in social organizations in terms of human resources management, household registration files, professional title appraisal, and social insurance.
It is also necessary to further expand interests expression channels and public participation platforms for female employees in social organizations. To this end, relevant departments should build a reliable platform to help these women participate in public welfare undertakings, make full use of their professional advantages in serving the public; and enhance their sense of belonging and security.
In addition, officials should urge women to form a family-friendly work system and culture, which requires that the government and other sectors in the society take active measures, improve the working mechanism and culture, provide public services such as inclusive and accessible pensions and childcare, and explore family-friendly work system innovation, so as to create a supportive work environment for women's development.
(Source: Wsic.ac.cn/ Translated and edited by Women of China)
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