Taking the Scientific Outlook on Development as a Guide to Open Up New Prospects for Work on Women’s Issues (Extract)

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 13:18
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 The year 2010 is the last year of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development as well as the final year of the 2001-2010 Program for Women and Children. In addition, this year marks the centenary of the International Working Women’s Day. We will continue to take the Scientific Outlook on Development as our guide, diligently serve the overall interests of the country, serve women and serve local branches of the All-China Women’s Federation and strive to open up new prospects for programs to help women. 

 1. Truly implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development and conscientiously putting it into practice

 The Scientific Outlook on Development is a powerful ideological and theoretical tool for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. It embodies the fundamental requirements for all the undertakings of the CPC, including programs for women, and is an important guiding principle that we must uphold and adhere to in carrying out those programs. We must fully, thoroughly and correctly understand the great significance, scientific connotations, essence and substance, and fundamental requirements of the Scientific Outlook on Development and conscientiously put it into practice.

 First, we must always take development as the top priority. We must unite with, lead, inspire, organize and help women in their development, work to remove the barriers in policy, technology, information and funding that are holding up women’s progress and strive to solve problems hindering women’s development. We must build platforms, set up bridges, provide services and increase training to help women become employed or start their own businesses. We will work to create an environment to promote women’s development and strive to raise the status of women. We will work hard to publicize the role that women play and the contributions they have made, publicly commend outstanding women and encourage women to make selfless contributions to economic and social development while developing a career. We will make a final review of the accomplishments of the 2001-2010 Program for Women and Children and formulate a development program that fully maps out plans for women and children for the next decade. 

 Shaanxi Province has built 15,918 home cisterns and wells and completed 67 public water supply projects in the nine years since the government launched the home cistern project in 2001, providing a safe water supply for more than 100 thousand people. The “Earth’s Love • Home Water Cistern” project is a joint project of the All-China Women’s Federation and the China Women’s Development Foundation. The project relies on non-government funding to build cisterns for collecting and storing rainwater and small public water supply projects in the dry region of northwestern China. Gao Fei, a villager of Ge’erzhuang, Huxian County, Xi’an, is shown doing her laundry on March 6, 2001. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Ding Haitao

 Second, we must always put people first. We must do more to respect the important position of women in society, provide services to meet their development needs and inspire more women to engage in personal development. We need to be pragmatic in lending practical help to women, benefiting women and helping women resolve their difficulties. We must educate women in the core socialist values, improve education and training for women and raise the ideological, moral and cultural standards of women.

 Third, we must always pursue balanced development. We will continue to implement the basic state policy of gender equality and work ceaselessly to balance the development of men and women. We will work to resolve problems hindering the development of rural women and promote balance in the development of urban and rural women. We need to conscientiously work to identify the barriers restricting the development of women in every sector of society, concentrating on programs for rural women while also working for the development of urban women. We also need to focus on helping disadvantaged women while also working to meet the requirements of high-level professional women in order to promote comprehensive development for all women. We need to take full advantage of the unique role of women in raising the cultural and moral standards of society and in supporting communities and families so that they can contribute even more to the building of a harmonious society. 

 Fourth, we must always balance development and the protection of rights. We need to take a clear stand in protecting the lawful rights and interests of women and children by resolutely combating all infringements of their rights. In particular, we will play a unique role in combating domestic violence, the trafficking of women and children and Internet pornography. We will constantly strive to make breakthroughs in legislation, policy and institutions to guarantee that rights are protected. We will identify typical cases to educate women about how to protect their rights to expand awareness among the public of the importance of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women. We will work to improve the network for the protection of rights to form a powerful concerted force for the protection of rights. We need to make our efforts to protect rights more effective to balance efforts to safeguard rights with efforts to maintain stability. We will make full use of the law as a tool to make enforcement of all laws and regulations pertaining to the protection of the lawful rights and interests of women more effective, taking the investigation of compliance with the Law Guaranteeing the Rights and Interests of Women as a new starting point.

 2. We must be innovative and ensure that programs for women keep pace with the times.

 Keeping pace with the times and making innovations provides an inexhaustible force for driving the sound progress of women.

 First, we made innovations in our general approach to make more breakthroughs. 

 One was to introduce a policy of providing women with small secured soft loans as a breakthrough point for resolving the problem of funding that is restricting women’s efforts to find jobs or start their own business. The All-China Women’s Federation worked with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the People’s Bank of China to institute a national policy of making small secured soft loans available to women. Under this policy, the government subsidizes the interest for small secured bank loans granted to women and involves the women’s federations in the work of providing micro credit for women, enabling all qualified urban and rural women to have access to soft loans. This represents a major breakthrough in making loans available to more women and increasing the amount of funds loaned to women, giving a strong boost to efforts to help urban and rural women find employment and start businesses.

 Two was to make regular gynecological examinations available to rural women as a breakthrough point for greatly improving women’s health care. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council, announced in his 2009 Report on the Work of Government that regular gynecological examinations would be provided for rural women, showing the concern of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council for rural women. This was also the result of the all-out efforts of all levels of the women’s federations. Subsequently, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Health introduced the Program to Examine Rural Women for Cervical and Breast Cancer, which marked the beginning of a trial project to provide free cervical cancer screening for 10 million rural women and free breast cancer screening for 1.2 million rural women over the next three years. The trail has already begun in various parts of the country and has been warmly welcomed by rural women.

 Three was to increase women’s representation in villager committees as a breakthrough point for greatly increasing women’s participation in the autonomous administration of villages. Taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the election of new villager committees in 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, the All-China Women’s Federation and the Ministry of Civil Affairs jointly issued a document defining clear requirements for increasing the representation of women on villager committees. At the same time, we held on-site meetings to introduce the successful practices and methods developed in one locality to more localities. As a result, the percentage of women in newly-elected villager committees was significantly increased and the participation of women in the autonomous administration of villages was greatly expanded.

 Four was to introduce a policy of promoting the development of high-level female personnel as a breakthrough point for creating conditions for the development of more outstanding female personnel to participate in and deliberate affairs of state and play a greater role in all professions and industries. Making full use of female personnel has a direct bearing on whether or not we can successfully implement the strategy of strengthening China through human resource development and the basic state policy of ensuring equality between men and women. The ranks of female personnel are growing along with China’s economic and social development, but the development of high-level female personnel is far from satisfactory. For this reason, the All-China Women’s Federation, with the support of more than ten state ministries and commissions including the Ministry of Science and Technology, planned and launched a research topic called, “Study of a Policy for the Development of High-Level Female Personnel.” The results of this study will serve as an important reference for the CPC Central Committee and the central government in formulating policies to promote the development of high-level female personnel and create conditions for the development of more outstanding female personnel to participate in and deliberate affairs of state and take leadership positions at all levels in all professions and industries. 

 Second, we made innovations in working mechanisms to strive for long-term benefits. Improving the lot of women is a type of social program, and the women’s federation is a people’s organization. We have been taking the initiative, actively working with other organizations and seeking support from other organizations in carrying out this work to form a permanent mechanism in which “the government plays the main role with the cooperation of the women’s federations and other organizations in a multilateral collaboration to make progress” in order to be effective in resolving problems in women’s development and protecting their rights. Programs to grant micro credit to women and improve health care for women, the setting up of a position in the judicial system responsible for protecting women’s rights, the creation of the 110 police hotline to report domestic violence and incorporation of the project of the All-China Women’s Federation to build rain collection facilities and central water supply points in the dry areas of the western region to provide safe drinking water to poverty stricken households financed by contributions from the general public into the national project are all thanks to the working mechanism consisting of the independent efforts of the All-China Women’s Federation and the strong support of relevant government departments. We will continue working to improve this mechanism to make it more institutionalized and standardized to ensure that it provides women with tangible, extensive and long-term benefits.

 Third, we made innovations in the content, media and brands related to efforts to help women to adapt efforts to changes in the situation. Expanding the content, adding more media and building brand names are important ways to be creative in efforts to help women. We will carry out a variety of nation-wide activities to address issues facing the survival and development of women and children. We will always employ media that is familiar and influential with the general public while developing creative ways to use them. Meanwhile, we must diligently keep pace with the times, adapt to changes in the situation and constantly work to improve and expand the way we use effective media and brand names developed at the local level that are popular with women to gradually develop new media and brands popular with the general public that have wide coverage and are influential to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of our efforts to help women.

 3. We must concentrate on key links, serve overall interests, serve women and serve local branches and work for substantive results. 

 Serving overall interests, serving women and serving local branches of the All-China Women’s Federation is a concentrated expression of the CPC’s aim to serve the people, as well as a basic requirement for applying the Scientific Outlook on Development in the effort to help women. We need to concentrate on several crucial links to improve the way we serve.

 We need to identify the correct starting point for serving overall interests, the correct stand for serving women and the correct focus for efforts to serve local branches. In serving the overall interests of the country, we need to first of all take into consideration the overall balance of reform, development and stability. We must strengthen the positive impact of our work on accelerating economic development, promoting economic restructuring, developing a modern service industry, and reducing energy consumption and reducing emissions, and make good use of the unique ability of our work to help resolve social tensions and maintain social harmony and stability. In serving women, we need to work out measures to address major issues of common concern affecting women’s interests, promote the introduction of relevant policies and provide comprehensive service. In addition, we need to appeal and formulate feasible proposals to address hot-button issues, such as women’s rights and interests in contracting land and the rights and interest of female migrant workers in cities, and make best use of our advantages in terms of sound networks and the various media we employ to confidently and unequivocally safeguard women’s rights and interests. In serving local branches of the All-China Women’s Federation, we need to focus on helping resolve the problem of lack of resources to carry out the work, the shortage of personnel and low pay. We need to make local branches more dynamic and effective by ensuring they have adequate personnel, adequate resources and the ability to carry out their work.

 We need to keep abreast of key issues in the implementation of laws and policies and in overall planning and balance to ensure that all measures are conscientiously carried out and achieve substantive results. We need to concentrate on difficult problems and barriers impeding our efforts to serve women. There are still problems in the implementation of the policy of granting women small secured soft loans, for example, obtaining credit guarantees is difficult, there is a lack of proper technology for projects and local cadres in the women’s federations have misgivings about the program. We need to continue seeking the support of Party and government leaders, set up a mechanism to coordinate the efforts of all parties in implementing the micro-credit policy, and strive to solve specific issues related to projects, technology and specialized organizations to ensure policies are truly effective. At the same time, we need to encourage personnel in local branches of the All-China Women’s Federation to free up their thinking, resolve their misgivings and strengthen their ability to organize and guide women in creating their own businesses and becoming prosperous. We need to increase the depth and breadth of the impact of our service. We must ceaselessly work to implement all government policies and constantly expand the number of women benefiting from our service and strengthen the effectiveness of our service. For example, we need to step up efforts to promote gynecological exams, introduce successful practices and methods developed in one locality to other localities and expand pilot projects so that more women will benefit from them. We need to work very hard on the issue of medical treatment for women who have contracted diseases and work to make the treatment of gynecological diseases a service offered by the new type of rural cooperative medical care system. Finally, we need to help poor women who cannot afford medical treatment as part of the effort to expand our efforts and make a real difference.

 We need to work hard to raise the overall level of our personnel and bases of operations, improve our service network and increase the content of our service. First, we must give full play to the organizational strengths of local branches. There are now more than 840,000 local branches of the All-China Women’s Federation, and these local branches constitute the main organizational force that carries out the actual work of helping women. We need to reach and help as many women as possible, extend our service to more groups of women and strengthen the impact and influence of our work. Second, we must give full play to the strengths of individual group members and other women’s organizations in reaching and serving women, explore new forms and methods for reaching and serving group members, help them exploit their strengths and work with them in reaching and serving women. Third, we must give full play to the strengths of the women’s federations in the work of helping communities and families, encourage more women to be community leaders, build community-based centers for carrying out work to help women and children and organize and guide women in serving communities and families and contributing to social harmony. Fourth, we must devote a great deal of effort to developing specialized women’s cooperatives and chain operations run by women to build more and better platforms to create opportunities for women to find employment or start their own businesses. Fifth, we must develop more ways to serve women, expand the coverage of service, apply modern information technology, keep abreast of sensitive issues through the Internet, respond promptly in accordance with the law to major cases and emergency incidents involving women’s rights and correctly advise people of the situation to make the Internet a new channel for communicating with women and a new arena for serving women.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 3, 2010)

Note: Author: Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and President of the All-China Women’s Federation

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