China / Society

Empowering women for our future

By Zhang Yuchen ( Updated: 2016-03-04 17:19

Successful local and foreign women gathered together to celebrate International Women's Day and discuss gender equality and female empowerment on Thursday night, launching a whole month's campaign to encourage women with potential.

Twenty events regarding women's mental health, business training, anti-domestic violence laws, and sports performance will be held in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Chongqing and Wuhan through the month of March.

Studies show that gender inequality holds back social development and economic growth. A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $28 trillion dollars could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women's equality.

"I have met many inspiring women in China, I want to celebrate the progress that has been achieved already in the field of gender equality here," said UK's Ambassador Barbara Woodward, the first female British Ambassador to China, at the launch.

Deng Yaping, the former world champion in women's table tennis at the Olympic Games, said the difference in payment in sports still shows the inequality between women and men. And it will take 118 years to close the gender gap completely at the current pace, according to the World Economic Forum in 2015.

Themed "Be Yourself", the month-long campaign aims to empower the women to reach their full potential, challenge stereotypes as well as raise awareness of the benefits of gender equality in society and female participation in the workplace, said Ambassador Woodward.

Panelists at the event shared their opinions on Chinese women being themselves. Feng Yuan, a campaigner on women's rights, said except for women's self-awareness, the reality of Chinese societal environment remains harsher for women who struggle to be themselves.

"Sometimes we should be aware of and make more efforts to change the world around us and make greater impact," she said.

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