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Status of Women, Children Improves

Shanghai: The status of women and children in Shanghai is higher than that in other provinces of the country and nearly meets the standards of developed countries.

This claim was made by the Shanghai Women's Federation yesterday at a press conference organized to discuss the latest developments in this field.

"The status of women and children has improved in the past five years during the country's Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000)," said Meng Yankun, deputy director of Shanghai Women and Children Committee.

More women have entered governments at different levels to manage State and social affairs.

By the end of last year, 40.06 percent of cadres in the city were women.

More women now have access to higher education. They accounted for 44.83 percent of college and university students, according to an evaluation report.

This, together with the fact that the average life expectancy for Shanghai women - 80.8 years - has surpassed that in developed countries, has prompted the city's women's federation to suggest an extension to women's working lives.

"This is now being discussed and is expected to be passed in the near future," Meng said.

Meanwhile, women's health conditions have improved, which is revealed in the slump in the death rate of pregnant women. Last year, only about 10 of the city's 100,000 pregnant women died.

The city is now working on a system to provide childbearing insurance for women.

To provide more protection for women, the city's 110 hotline, which receives reports of crime, has set up a system specifically to deal with family violence.

The city has also seen the situation of children improving, especially for needy youngsters.

"We have established a social aid network to fund poor and disabled children," Meng said.

Project Hope helped 5,901 students back to school in 1999 with funds of 5.9 million yuan (US$712,600).

The education of migrant children born to the city's 3 million out-of-town workers has also been improved.

"Most of them receive an education, which was not an easy problem to solve," Meng said.

By the end of last year, 96,500 migrant children had been placed in local primary and middle schools.

(China Daily 06/01/2001)

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