Laid-off women to get skills training
( 2003-08-15 09:13) (China Daily)
A senior official with the All-China Women's Federation Thursday pledged it would help train 2 million laid-off women in the next five years so that they could find new jobs.
Helping laid-off women will be one of the priorities of the federation's incoming leading group, federation Vice-President Gu Xiulian told a press conference hosted by the State Council Information Office.
The federation's new leading group will be elected at the ninth National Women's Congress of China, which will begin on August 22 and last five days. The congress is held once every five years.
Gu said training is important because many women looking for new work face a major stumbling block due to their relatively limited occupational skills and academic background.
Official statistics indicate that women made up 49 per cent of the country's 6.81 million people in cities and towns registered as unemployed.
Since 1998, two million women have been employed or re-employed mainly as a result of the federation's occupational training programmes.
The federation has been working hard in the past five years to reduce the rate of female illiteracy and school dropouts and to get more women to attend higher education, Gu said.
For example, women's federation branches at all levels have collected 300 million yuan (US$36.1 million) in donations from China and abroad and helped 750,000 girls return to school after having dropped out.
According to Gu, 43.95 per cent of the country's students in higher education are female, six percentage points higher than the rate from five years ago. As a consequence, more Chinese women are assuming important positions in government departments and businesses.
But the employment problems of women cannot be solved if they merely compete for existing positions. Therefore, Gu said the federation will also encourage more women to start their own business.
For example, she said, the federation will continue with its small-loan programme, which gave out small loans worth a total of 950 million yuan (US$114.5 million) over the past five years and helped over 2 million women shrug off poverty.
Gu said the federation will fight hard against today's increasing discrimination against women in the workplace. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, is doing some research into this issue and expected to produce new legislation against it, she said.
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