Women's Federations Gain Remarkable Reform Results Over One Year

August 15, 2017
By Qiao HongEditor: Rong Chen

Women's federations across China have gained remarkable reform results during last year, according to officials attending the latest meeting of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF).

Statistics Review

So far, nearly 460,000 villages or communities nationwide have replaced women's representative conferences with women's federations, accounting for around 67 percent of the total.

Among them, the federations in Shanghai, Chongqing, Jiangsu Province, and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) have fully completed the replacement work.

Meanwhile, over 20,000 township organizations have finished their regional construction reform, accounting for 48 percent. The replacement work was 100 percent completed in Shanghai, Chongqing, XPCC, and the provinces of Liaoning, Zhejiang, Shandong and Hunan.

In terms of online initiatives, women's federations across the country have established over 6,700 websites and new media platforms. Grassroots women's federations have initiated more than 900,000 chat groups on the instant-messaging app WeChat, connecting around 110 million women.

Since the reform, nationwide village and community women's federations have added 3.04 million executive committee members. Township organizations have also increased the number of executive committee officials by over 200,000. The situation demonstrates that, nowadays, women are actually responsible for women-related work.

"The reform is heating up in terms of increased intensity, in-depth expansion, expanded coverage and accelerated pace," commented Song Xiuyan, vice-president and first member of the Secretariat of the ACWF.

Top-down Design and Overall Planning Leading Women's Federation's Steady Reform

ACWF officials recently ended their two-month nationwide inspections on the implementation of federation reform.

In specific, members of the Secretariat of the ACWF led six groups of officials to conduct inspections among over 300 townships, village communities and so-called "two new organizations" – new social and economic organizations at the grassroots level.

During the inspection, ACWF officials exchanged ideas with local Party committee leaders, grassroots officials and other people. They promoted the reform spirits of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee among mass organizations, especially those highlighting women's federation reform during the many symposiums they attended.

The ACWF not only intensified its internal organization reform, but also carried out guidance on reform initiatives among nationwide federations at various levels.

At the early period of reform, the ACWF held many training sessions for municipal or provincial federation officials. The ACWF urged attendees to list job responsibilities and highlighted key reform mechanisms in order to progress the reform under unified thoughts and actions.

Strong Leadership Ensuring Women's Federation Reform Direction

The Party committee at various levels across south China's Guangdong Province has involved the federation reform into local work plans. After federations submitted their work reports to local Party committees, 11 cities have approved the budget of reform-related work expenses. Moreover, a total of 21 cities have issued relevant reform plans or timetables.

In central China's Hunan Province, the provincial Party committee issued a guideline to strengthen and further promote reform among mass organizations. It urges that a special women's fund based on the local population should be approved by local governments.

The allocated amount of money, from the local fiscal budget, guarantees at least 1 yuan (U.S.$ 0.15) for every woman, and will later increase in value with the development of social and economic progress.

Hunan also plans to establish women and children's activities centers at each of the province's cities, counties or districts by 2020.

Several provinces acted in accordance with the reform guideline from the CPC Central Committee, the ACWF and provincial Party committee. They have also explored innovative reform initiatives based on local conditions and learned about the advanced experiences of federation reform from cities of Shanghai and Chongqing.

In the northern province of Shanxi, the provincial women's federation made a reform implementation plan and a guideline about deepening reform at the grassroots level.

In collaboration with the Organization Department of Shanxi Provincial Committee, the provincial federation issued a notice which called on the Party leadership to lead women's federation construction. They also created a so-called "1+N" work mechanism at the grassroots level.

In southwest China's Yunnan Province, the provincial women's federation has involved reform as part of study content of the Party leadership theory center. Officials would put forward reform plans focusing on their work departments' functions, responsibilities and innovation.

In the central province of Henan, local organizations have advanced many reform tasks in an orderly manner across the province's 18 cities and another 10 counties directly under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. Many initiatives include federation-organized training sessions, officials' conducting inspections and reform plan assessments.

In conclusion, women's federation reform was advanced by a joint social effort in terms of the leadership of local Party committee and government, collaboration among different departments and women's federation, and support from women from the general population.

Innovative Work Style Increasing Women's Sense of Achievement

Cong Nan is a female PhD student at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

She was selected by the ACWF through a random online poll to attend the activity which invites netizens to visit the ACWF's workplace.

Cong and another 21 women from various fields across the nation made the tour on March 8, which marks the International Women's Day.

After talks with ACWF Vice-President Song Xiuyan, Cong made a post on her WeChat account, saying "the women's federation is home to women of every age."

The ACWF and women's federations at different levels must be reliable and trustworthy to women, and can help women in time of need, commented a federation official.

So far, women members' variety among the ACWF's standing committee and executive committee has fulfilled the reform targets, as such members are from various fields and ethnicities, and are inclusive of outstanding women intellectuals.

Meanwhile, federation officials conducted on-site initiatives in order to better serve women. Officials' improved work capabilities aimed to spread the care of Party and government toward women and safeguard their rights and interests.

The ACWF requires its officials to connect and serve women at grassroots level, and encourages them to take notes on women's conditions on diary. More than 200 federation officials make grassroots inspections. They visit residential communities, and women's poverty-relief initiatives, directly connecting 11,000 women.

In east China's Shandong Province, women can order services from local organizations. By the end of 2016, Shandong Women's Federation had collected 30 women-related hot issues and later recruited more than 500 experts to deliver speeches on those topics among communities or villages.

The women's federation in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region carried out many poverty-relief initiatives as a key part in implementing federation reform. For example, the federation organized many training sessions for impoverished women to improve their domestic service skills. So far, 98,600 women have been recommended to find jobs after attending those sessions, and further benefiting 20,400 women from impoverished families who were recorded in local poverty-related documents.

Launching New Platforms to Provide Integrated Online and Offline Service

"In the past, I needed to visit every household to promote federation initiatives. Later, I used a loudspeaker to spread the news. Nowadays, the smartphone is the best tool to accompany me because I can connect women via online groups," said Zhao Yanrong, a grassroots women's federation president who has been working over 28 years in a county in northeast China.

"Local villagers enjoy the innovative connecting approach and actively participate in activities such as dancing and performances of showing family talent," Zhao added.

The women's federation is taking advantage of new work model called "Internet plus" as a breakthrough in improving federation officials' work competence and services for women. This novel model also regards internet and new media as one of the main channels to organize, educate and lead women from the general population.

In southwest China's Sichuan Province, women's federations provided all sorts of online service resources such as training sessions, seminars on positive family virtues, and Q&A with officials.

Those initiatives have benefited over 2 million households so far across the province. The Looking for Most Beautiful Family campaign launched by local federations has attracted 10 million families.

Beijing Women's Federation has improved its online platform so as to serve women online. The federation has launched websites, as well as accounts on WeChat and Weibo, attracting nearly 3 million followers and influencing over tens of millions of women.

Jilin Women's Federation has encouraged grassroots federations to open accounts on WeChat, too. So far, federations in the province have established more than 10,000 online groups, connecting more than 1.01 million women from nine cities and 60 counties across this northeastern province.

Women federation in southeast China's Fujian Province has promoted their online work by encouraging its full-time, part-time and temporary officials to connect women through online groups. The initiative enables women to get direct connections with federations via the online media at anytime.

In collaboration with Provincial Office of Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, Jiangsu women's federation has carried out the activity To Be Good Female Netizens. The initiative aims to lead women to participate in the building of a clean cyberspace environment and spreading positive social ethos online. The federation also launched both online and offline activities with the theme of greeting the upcoming 19th CPC National Congress.

Internet and new media have many advantages such as broad coverage of users, openness, and convenience. Those features will allow the federation to strengthen its social influence in terms of online publicity effects and guiding public opinions, commented a federation official.

Implementing Reform Initiatives among Grassroots Women's Federations

The ACWF has obeyed the problem-oriented principle and carried out targeted initiatives to advance grassroots women's federation reform. Initiatives include township federation's regional construction and the replacement of women's representative conferences at village level with women's federations.

In September 2016, ACWF organized a meeting to promote regional construction among township federations in Baotou's Tumd Right Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The Inner Mongolia Women's Federation took the conference as an opportunity to further advance grassroots research and study. The meeting was also held to spread reform-related innovative work scheme experience of the regional federation, and aimed at strengthening grassroots federation reform.

In central China's Hubei Province, after replacing women's representative conferences with women's federations, the number of executive committee members at village federations has tripled. Moreover, 75 percent of executive committee members were selected from outstanding female representatives from various fields.

The work model has changed from the situation of "1,000 lines above with a needle below to the current condition of a network below and a home nearby." Nationwide women's federations have explored innovative reform initiatives according to local conditions.

In northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the area's first Women's Home for migrant women was founded at a square in Yinchuan in 2016, covering more than 11 local women's culture teams consisting of 500 women.

The grassroots federation in the township of Huangquqiao established a Women's Home activity center at a local market, with the help of local cultural service station.

Ningxia has established 56 women's homes for migrant women or for other women of grassroots levels at parks, squares, and markets across the region, so as to achieve the goal "where there are women's gatherings, there would be women's federations."

Remarks from ACWF President

Shen Yueyue, vice-chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and president of the ACWF, highlighted several issues about women's federation reform in the next stage at the organization's latest standing committee meeting.

Federations at all levels should stick to the correct political direction; deepen federation reform; better serve the overall situation of serving women; unite and lead women to follow the CPC leadership; and, encourage them to contribute efforts to the national development featuring "socialism with Chinese characteristics."

Also, Shen urged the organization to consolidate the CPC's ruling basis of people involving women; and greet the upcoming 19th CPC National Congress with reform achievements.

(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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