More than 700 women representatives attended the 12th Provincial Women's Congress held in eastern China's Anhui Province on October 16-17, 2013, during which Vice President and Member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) Chen Xiurong encouraged local women's federations and working staff to pursue their 'Chinese Dreams.'
|More than 700 women representatives attend the 12th Anhui Women's Congress held in Hefei, capital city of eastern China's Anhui Province, on October 16 -17, 2013. [Anhui Women's Federation / Cai Chuanzhen]
In her address to the congress, Chen proposed suggestions for the province's future direction and encouraged women's federations and organizations to implement the key points of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in their efforts to better serve women.
President of Anhui Women's Federation Huang Hong presented a work report during the congress, during which she said that the province has seen its numbers of employed women increasing, with more than two million rural women having received training in modern agricultural technology.
Meanwhile, more than 1.2 billion yuan (US$ 196.8 million) in small loans have been issued to women in the province to finance their entrepreneurship efforts. The loans were distributed under the Small Loans for Women project, which was launched by the China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF) in 1996.
Anhui Province has also supported the implementation of charity projects such as the free breast and cervical cancer screenings project, which was jointly launched by the ACWF, former Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance in July 2009 to enable early cancer diagnoses and provide easier access to medical treatment for women. Seventeen schools were established and 103 classes for girls were sponsored within the province over the past five years under the Spring Bud Project, which was launched by the China Children and Teenagers' Foundation (CCTF) in 1989 to help girls in poverty-stricken regions go back to school.
The Anhui Women's Federation also established more than 12,000 grassroots service stations across the province to provide legal assistance to needy women. The 12338 women's rights protection hotline is now available in every county of the province, providing all women with access to professional legal aid and shelter services.
In addition, 443 Anhui women were honored as National or Provincial March 8th Red-Banner Holders and 126 units were awarded as National or Provincial March 8th Red-Banner Holding Collectives.
In the next five years, the federation will further implement the basic national policy of gender equality and encourage women's political participation and contributions to social, economic and ecological civilization development.
The federation will also build 100 more domestic service stations under the 'Anhui Sister' project and 1,000 model farmhouses under the 'Anhui Girl' project.
The federation has also called on women to play a leading role in promoting a low-carbon lifestyle and contributing to energy-saving and environment protection. The move is in line with a circular that the ACWF issued earlier this year, requiring women's federations across the nation to lead local women in promoting the use of energy-efficient light bulbs and developing energy-saving habits such as taking out plugs, minimizing the use of air-conditioners, recycling water and using non-phosphorus washing powder and cloth bags.
Huang said she hoped that local governments and women's federations would promote women's development, further implement the basic national policy of gender equality and follow the CPC's 'mass line', a guideline under which the CPC is required to prioritize the interests of the people and persist in exercising power for them.
Secretary of the Anhui Provincial CPC Committee Zhang Baoshun was also in attendance at the event.
Statistics from the Anhui Provincial Bureau of Statistics in August 2013 showed that the province has made strides in women's development, with women accounting for 28.8 percent of the delegates to the 12th Anhui Provincial People's Congress and 22.1 percent of the members to the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of Anhui Province. Meanwhile, 51,000 women cadres are currently serving in government departments across the province, accounting for 21 percent of all government employees.
All the 16 cities directly controlled by the provincial government, 98.1 percent of the counties and 94.5 percent of the towns and villages now have women leaders in their governments.
Aside from increased political participation, Anhui women are also enjoying a longer average lifespan of 77.84 years --- 3.57 years longer than in 2000 and 5.91 years longer than Anhui men.