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China, Canada Launch Project to Help Rural Women

The Chinese Women’s College (CWC) and the University of Manitoba of Canada (UMC) have launched a six-year project to train social workers how to better serve the interests of Chinese women in rural areas.


CWC President Zhang Lixi, who is also a director of the project, said in Beijing on Thursday that economic reform and the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization have had a great impact on Chinese citizens, especially women.


As much as 80 percent of all agricultural work is done by women in some rural areas, since most of the men have gone to cities to seek jobs. However, the income of rural women is just half that of men, largely owing to their lack of marketing knowledge. Urban and rural disparities further lower the disadvantageous position of rural women.


Discrimination against women and family violence continue, said Zhang.


The project, test launched in Beijing, southwest China’s Sichuan Province and north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, includes postgraduate courses on social work to CWC teaching staff and training personnel in charge of women’s affairs at the county level.


James Gardner, representative of UMC, said the project might help improve the educational and living skills of rural women and thus elevate their positions in family and society.


Currently, most social service workers are educated in anthropology and politics, with no internships or other direct work experience. China is in urgent need of improving its public service sector, he added.


(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2004)

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