Song Xiuyan (central in blue), vice-president and first member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), talks to people during her visit to Xiangyang City in central China's Hubei Province on November 10. [hbfp.gov.cn]
Song Xiuyan, vice-president and first member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), called on women and women's federations to play their role in making targeted efforts to alleviate poverty, during her visit to less-developed rural areas in central China's Hubei Province from November 10-13.
Entering households in every village she visited, Song checked the archives of impoverished people, asked women about their practical difficulties in life and production activities, and discussed with grassroots officials and villagers on how to help women shake off poverty and lead a well-off life.
The faraway villages she visited have all witnessed higher rates of poverty in the past. These villages have adopted a model of collaboration between cooperatives, companies, villagers and centers in recent years, based on the market demand. Through the thriving of featured industries such as seedlings, flowers, vegetable farming, kiwi fruit and mushrooms, local villagers' living standards have sharply improved.
Hearing that the major laborers in these industries are rural women, Song said that such participation was an important solution to increasing rural women's incomes to develop regional industries featuring a high level of engagement from local impoverished women according to local conditions.
In Dafan Village, Baokang County, one third of villagers are migrants from the Three Gorges reservoir and previously led a hard life due to the tough local conditions. Now, the conditions have improved dramatically and the village has become renowned for its enviable infrastructure and eco-tourism.
Villagers have shaken off poverty and led a happy life, said a local villager. Hearing these accounts, Song pointed out that the relocation of impoverished groups can not only improve women's living conditions and help their livelihoods, it can also be beneficial for ecological and environmental protection.
Gao Weilian, an entrepeneurial villager in Zijin Township in Gucheng County, started a tea company and contracted 150 hectares of wasteland and woodland with her husband. Their business brought 35,000 households into the tea growing industry, attracting large numbers of villagers to find employment near their homes. Among them, more than 80 percent of tea farmers, more than 90 percent of tea pickers and more than 95 percent of tea specialists are women.
Song stressed that in the process of helping women shake off poverty, female leaders play a crucial role. She encouraged women's federations to cultivate those with entrepreneurial abilities and developmental potentials, and play their exemplary and inspiring roles.
At the Qinba E-commerce Mall in Zhushan County, which features local specialty shops, Song asked about the operating model and employees, and chatted with a retailer of wild honey, named Liang Li.
Liang told Song that she had been working outside her hometown and opened the online store after she received three-month training at the mall. Currently her monthly income has reached 7,000-8,000 yuan (U.S. $1,100-1,250).
Song said that a simple cable can connect remote villages with the world, and the internet is an innovation of poverty relief in the modern era. Thus, impoverished women should be guided to update their ideas and learn to sell their specialty products to the outside world relying on the technology in a bid to shake off poverty.
Song encouraged women's federations to hold practical agricultural training sessions, to help impoverished women improve their production capability and gain more income in agriculture, poultry farming, processing, tourism and hand-knitting among other industries.
Song also pointed out that the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee set a new target across the country, aiming to bring all rural people out of poverty by 2020 and reduce the list of counties officially categorized as less-developed by more than 600, while women are the recipients and beneficiaries of poverty alleviation.
She said that society's gender consciousness should be further brought into the poverty alleviation work, and the rates of women's participation and poverty relief should also be included in the indicators for performance appraisal.
(Source: women.org.cn/Translated and edited by Women of China)