BRI Benefits Women's Development

ByYe Shan May 7, 2019
Three participants — from Cambodia, France and Nepal — of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) took part in a group interview on April 26.[Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

 

Three participants — from Cambodia, France and Nepal — of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) took part in a group interview on April 26. They shared their feelings about attending the forum, and they discussed how the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) contributed to women's development.

Let Women Become 'Source of Prosperity, Vigor'

Chan Sotheavy, Inspector General of the Ministry of Women's Affairs of Cambodia, said Cambodia's Ministry of Women's Affairs, and various women's organizations, enhanced exchanges and cooperation with the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) in recent years. In 2017, leaders and members of ACWF and Cambodia's Ministry of Women's Affairs paid mutual visits, and ACWF provided Health Express for Mothers vehicles and other material assistance to Cambodia, which contributed to women's development in Cambodia, Chan added.

Chan Sotheavy, Inspector General of the Ministry of Women's Affairs of Cambodia, at an interview during the second BRF [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

 

She said she hoped the Ministry of Women's Affairs would strengthen dialogue and the sharing of experiences with ACWF, especially involving BRI, including learning how to better promote development of enterprises, how to establish women's activity centers in rural areas and how to provide training to help Cambodian women improve entrepreneurship and employment skills.

The BRI has provided an important opportunity to Cambodia and China to cooperate on infrastructure construction, and to enhance commercial exchanges, which have greatly changed the living conditions of Cambodian women, Chan said. By encouraging women to participate more actively in economic development, Chan said she hoped Cambodian women will become the "source of prosperity and vigor."

Bring Happiness, Benefits to Women

Sharmila Karki, Member of the Secretariat of the All-Nepal Women's Association, said BRI not only involves "physical," or social connections, but also mutual respect, mutual sharing and mutual benefits shared by China and all of its BRI partners. In her opinion, people-to-people connectivity represents the power of the 21st century. "Without such connectivity, we cannot solve challenges, such as global warming and other natural disasters. We are in need of unity, which comes from connectivity through people-to-people exchanges," Karki said, when she addressed the importance of people-to-people connectivity within BRI.

Sharmila Karki, Member of the Secretariat of the All-Nepal Women's Association, at an interview during the second BRF. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

 

She outlined some good practices for promoting women's development in Nepal. For example, a radio program, which aims at improving women's abilities, invites a woman leader or role model to discuss a topic, from a woman's perspective, every Saturday. On the topic of BRI, the invited speaker talked about the happiness and benefits BRI would bring to women, Karki explained. She also explained the measures to combat violence against women, and to encourage women's participation in politics in Nepal.

Karki said she hoped women's organizations in Nepal would cooperate more actively with ACWF to raise the quality of Nepalese women's lives.

Expand Space for Women's Development

Christine Bernabeu, President of the association H.E.R.A. Transcontinentale, said if BRI gives women enough opportunities to participate in its construction, the initiative will bring the best to women's development and cooperation.

Christine Bernabeu, President of the association H.E.R.A. Transcontinentale, at an interview during the second BRF. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

 

Recalling the stories shared during the thematic forum, on April 25, Bernabeu said it is not easy to build people-to-people connectivity among countries with different cultural backgrounds. However, she added, women are good at promoting connectivity and building close people-to-people bonds.

During her organization's communications with ACWF and women's federations in China during the past six years, Bernabeu said she was particularly impressed by a visit to Nangu Village, in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, in 2013. "The hardest difficulty for villagers (to overcome) was the lack of water. With support from Shaanxi Women's Federation, the local women found a solution to save their village. Now, the village has water drawn from the Yellow River. When I revisited the village in 2016, I saw men, who had left their hometown to earn a living in cities, had returned to their homes to work with women in their village. They renovated houses and grew vegetables and grapes in their gardens. What surprised me more was that women in the village were able to sell their agricultural products through the Internet!"

Bernabeu added BRI had built a "bridge" for her to share with the world how Chinese women's organizations have helped rural women shake off poverty. She said she expects more exchanges and cooperation in the development of women and children's undertakings through BRI.

Chan Sotheavy, Inspector General of the Ministry of Women's Affairs of Cambodia, Sharmila Karki, Member of the Secretariat of the All-Nepal Women's Association, Christine Bernabeu, President of the association H.E.R.A. Transcontinentale, are interviewed by media during the second BRF. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

 

(Women of China)

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