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Women contribute to rural vitalization

China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-31 09:12
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TAIYUAN — Yao Yanmei, a thin woman with tanned skin, is busy sorting goods in her sesame oil workshop in a farmyard in Shanxi province. In her early 30s, she is already a well-known figure in her village.

From growing rice and processing agricultural produce to livestreaming marketing and opening a homestay, Yao's entrepreneurial spirit has helped benefit some 600 people and 300 families.

She is one of many women in rural areas who are using innovation and hard work to create change, and is part of the larger trend toward greater involvement of women in rural vitalization.

Yao grew up in a small mountain village in Duanjiazhai township. After graduating from university and working for a few years, she returned home and spearheaded an effort to create rice paddy art, drawing inspiration from paper-cutting techniques. She also sells agricultural produce to customers across China through livestreaming and hosts a homestay that is popular with urbanites looking to experience life in the countryside.

"Rural communities need young people with local attachments and an innovative spirit to play a leading role in driving economic development, improving employment opportunities and raising incomes," said Yang Fang, an official in Duanjiazhai township.

The gradual improvement of China's digital economy infrastructure has led to a rise in female entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, according to the Women's Development Report 2022 produced by BRICS, the economic bloc consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In recent years, with the deepening of rural vitalization and policies to increase female engagement in the workforce, women are playing an increasingly prominent role in the process.

In the mountainous village of Paimo in Guizhou province, 29-year-old Zhang Yiping helped set up a women's batik cooperative. Their products, which include distinctive ethnic elements, have been sold in domestic and overseas markets.

Zhang learned to make batik from her mother at an early age. As the local government pushes for rural vitalization and the training of local talent, she took the initiative to set up the cooperative, which has helped boost the incomes of nearly 200 women.

"The cooperative is close to home and has steady orders. I can earn 3,000 yuan ($431) a month," said Wang Jianhou, who has worked at the cooperative for six years.

The China Women's Development Foundation has introduced a project for empowering female contribution to rural vitalization. It provides female entrepreneurs inclusive training in e-commerce and video creation and offers venture capital support and other resources.

Yao received financial support from the foundation and traffic support from livestreaming platforms.

"I see increasingly broad prospects for distinct rural industries, livestreaming marketing and e-commerce in rural areas. I have greater passion and confidence in helping my rural sisters become prosperous," Yao said.


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