Women's Federations need to study how to delegate their services to grassroots women's homes and let them provide professional marriage counseling, said Tan Lin, member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) at a seminar in Shanghai on May 20.
Women's homes are organizations run by grassroots women's federations to serve women.
Tan attended the seminar to study how women's federations participate in the mediation of marriage and family disputes. Seven local organizations including Shanghai Women's Federation, Shanghai Bureau of Justice, Shanghai Women Lawyers' Society, women's federation of Yangpu, Minxing and Changning districts, and Shanghai White Yulan Magnolia Happy Homeland Family Service Firm, joined the discussion.
As there are problems in marriage and households, women and families urgently need a way to solve such disputes and build equal and harmonious families, says Tan.
Mediation of disputes in marriages and families is something that service users keenly demand, and that women's federations are able to provide, added Tan.
Tan pointed out that mediation work is not only women's federations' responsibility, but also social work in cooperation with multiple departments.
Through thorough studies and a summary of her experiences, Tan said her team needs to figure out which women's federations need to take action and how to do so because the situations and practical circumstances vary from place to place
Tan hopes that women's federations at all levels will remain focused on their core functions of advocating equal, harmonious and civilized families and marriage concepts; as well as protecting women's legitimate rights and interests while providing family and marriage counseling services.
Tan recommended combining face-to-face, emotional counseling and legal services, with distant counseling services via the Internet and over the phone.
"The information on '12338' (the women's federations' hotline for women to help protect their rights) and other channels of providing rights protection services should be sent to the 'women's homes' (the community centers set up by the federations) to guide women to learn and employ the law," said Tan.
It is still to be studied how governments could purchase independent organizations' mediation services and motivate them to play a role in this developing field, concluded Tan.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)