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Women Discuss Solutions for Domestic Violence, Poverty

Women representatives from Chinese mainland, Macao and Hong Kong discussed on Saturday the problems and solutions for women to combat domestic violence and poverty at the 2004 Women's Conference.

Chairwoman of Guangdong Provincial Women's Federation said that, although women's status has been enhanced in the fields of politics, economics, culture and family, family violence still exists in some households. She said grievous domestic violence not only jeopardizes women's safety, damages the reins between husband and wife, but also leads to family conflicts and social problems. Therefore, there is a need to work out solutions to the problem.

Social Worker of Macao Good Shepherd Center Debbie Lai shared her experience of domestic violence. She said that, shackled by traditional thoughts, women usually tend not to report violence that happened in their family. They think it is a shame to let a third person to know they are facing such a family problem. Lai suggested that, public education is one of the effective ways to combat domestic violence.

Executive Director of Hong Kong Harmony House Margaret Wong pointed out that domestic violence is a global social problem with women being the prime victims. She said that progress in terms of public education and victims support has been made in the last decade in Hong Kong. She suggested that resources and input have to be allocated to treatment for batteries and child witness to domestic violence.

Wong also said that prevention of domestic violence has ultimately to be linked with education for younger generation to promote gender equality and mutual respect for all human beings, men and women.

At the session of Women and Eradication of Poverty, Niu Lihua, Vice Director of Women's Development Department of All-China Women's Federation, believed that elimination of women's poverty is the important contents of improvement of women's status and promotion of the sustained development.

As introduced by Niu, All-China Women's Federation has organized activities at all levels to help women shake off poverty. The Federation has provided women with employment posts and opportunities, which directly helped 2 million rural women out of poverty.

Member of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Legislative Council Chan Yuen Han said that, although Hong Kong is one of the world's most wealthy region, many women from the grass root are still suffering from poverty in the city. She pointed out that sex discrimination still exists on the labor market, which is one of the reasons that lead to the unemployment problem among women.

Chan suggested that the SAR government should set up measures to protect women's right of having reasonable wage and working hours in order to improve the living standards of women from the grass root.

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2004)

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