Women play big role in politics

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-16 07:02

Chinese women are playing an increasing role in politics - more than 200 hold senior positions such as governors and ministers, a government official said in Beijing yesterday.

The number of women participating in politics has risen to about 40 percent, Huang Qingyi, vice-president of the All-China Women's Federation, said.

Since 2001, China has promoted five female State leaders. There are nine today. By 2005, 241 women held provincial or ministerial level leadership positions.

Huang, 63, is a good example.

She was a horticulture technician in central Henan Province in the early 1980s, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

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As a result, the status of women today is far higher than it was several decades ago. At the same time, great efforts have been made to protect the rights and interests of children.
Over the past two decades, Huang has held positions as a gardening researcher, the vice-head of an agricultural science institute, the deputy secretary of the Party committee in Henan and the vice-director of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China.

Today, Huang is also the vice-chairwoman of the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council and a member of the CPC Central Committee.

And more women are expected to climb the political ladder as the National People's Congress (NPC) is expected to enrol more female lawmakers during its five-year reshuffle next year. The rule is to ensure that female delegates get no less than 22 percent of the nearly 3,000 seats available at the NPC, Huang said.

"It further proves and reflects the importance the Party attaches to women's participation in the senior ranks. "

Employment of women has also improved. Female employees totalled 341.21 million, making up 45 percent of the total work force in 2005.

It is an increase of 24 million over that of 2000.

More than four million women in rural areas have been lifted out of poverty, Huang said

However, Chinese women still face some difficulties. Their quality of life varies between the urban and rural areas, Huang said.

It is still difficult for many women to seek employment or re-employment, said Guo Ruixiang, China Programme Specialist of the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

"Women aged between 40 and 50 find it difficult to find a suitable job," Guo said. "Even if they do find work, many do so in the informal sectors."

(China Daily 05/16/2007 page3)

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