Progress of Chinese women in full swing   2012-03-07 20:52:08

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- At the ongoing parliamentary session, Premier Wen Jiabao mentioned the word "women" four times in his government work report, highlighting the role of women's progress in China's development agenda.

Wen pledged to "improve the well-being of women and children and better guarantee their rights and interests" in the report to the National People's Congress, and also promised to take care of the children, women and elderly people left behind by rural migrant workers who work in cities.

In fact, progress for the women of China is in full swing, granting women more dignity and independence everywhere from the economic and political arenas to their households.

China had about 137 million female workers by October 2010, accounting for 42.6 percent of the total, up from just 610,000 female workers, or 7.5 percent, in 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded.

Meanwhile, some female journalists, teachers, doctors, nurses and police have outshined their male counterparts by using their feminine tenderness to gain an edge in their daily work.

Furthermore, in a move to promote rural women's participation in politics, women were elected into all village committees in Shandong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hunan and Guangdong provinces that completed reshufflings in 2011, according to the All-China Women's Federation.

Official figures show that 10 more female officials at the city level, and 27 more female Party chiefs at the county level, were added to official lineups in 14 provincial regions that completed local government reshufflings, which take place every five years.

The relatively small number of female politicians in China is a topic criticized by Western media. However, the ratio of female national lawmakers stands at 22 percent, compared with only 17 percent in the United States.

Moreover, women's presence in politics has been increasing, and will continue to do so, which is nothing new to those familiar with China's development.

In addition to entering the political arena, Chinese women are also amassing fortunes. China now has more self-made female billionaires than any other country in the world, and many of these female entrepreneurs have rags-to-riches stories that have inspired others to follow suit.

Chinese women, therefore, no longer stand behind men. They have more choices in their lives, creating distance from the traditional image of women as obedient housewives.

"If you depend on your parents, you would be a princess; if you depend on men, you would be the wife of a prince; if you depend on yourself, you would be a queen," according to a post forwarded thousands of times on Sina Weibo, a Chinese-language Twitter-like microblogging service, ahead of International Women's Day, which falls on Thursday.

Special Report: NPC, CPPCC Annual Sessions 2012

Editor: Deng Shasha
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