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Shanghai women hold more than half the sky
By Pan Haixia (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-12 05:44

SHANGHAI: Women in this city spend an average of two hours and 54 minutes doing household chores everyday, 36 minutes less than five years ago, a survey released by the Shanghai Municipal Women and Children Committee revealed.

Accordingly, the leisure time enjoyed by local women has also seen a slight increase during the same period. The average woman has three hours and 54 minutes of leisure time a day, 24 minutes more than in 2000.

"Apart from the improvement in living conditions and the growth of the house-keeping service industry, the fact that Shanghai men are increasingly sharing the housework is also an important factor behind the change," Shi Qiuqin, vice-director of the Shanghai Women's Federation, said at a press conference during the second working meeting on Shanghai women and children's development on Friday.

Education is also another area of women's development that has seen major advances. A report released at the meeting showed the number of female students in universities and colleges surpassed that of male students in 2004, after being on a par over the previous four years. This means "the gender difference in higher education has been eradicated," the report said.

Shanghai had a total of 415,700 students in universities and colleges in 2004, 50.1 per cent of whom were women.

In Shanghai, women appear to have a stronger desire to improve their knowledge and skills than men. Last year about 51.7 per cent of Shanghainese taking higher education courses at night-school were women while they obtained 50.1 per cent of the various skills qualifications in the city, the report said.

Women are, however, still over-represented in the unemployed population. By the end of 2004, women employees accounted for only 38.3 per cent of the city's total working population, down from 42.3 per cent in 2000.

Employment discrimination against women is still strong in the city, and the situation could become worse if no effective measures are taken, experts said.

The main ways which the Shanghai municipal government is seeking to help jobless women include providing them with free skills training and granting them preferential treatment to start businesses.

(China Daily 09/12/2005 page3)

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