Women in western China's Tibet Autonomous Region, who have become driving forces in all aspects of life, now enjoy good living conditions and the right to take part in government and political affairs.
Before Tibet's democratic reforms, women in this region were at the bottom of the social ladder and had no political status at all.
In old Tibet, local government codes stipulated that "women should not be given the right to participate in government affairs, and slaves and women shall not engage in military and political affairs."
After the reforms of the late 1950s and early 1960s which completely abolished the feudal serfdom system, Tibetan women began enjoying status and rights equal to Tibetan men in line with China's Constitution and law.
Now more than 90 percent of Tibetan women have consistently taken part in elections for deputies to the regional people's congresses, statistics show.
The present proportion of female deputies in the region's people's congresses is above 20 percent. More than 30 percent of all cadres in the region are women.
The All-China Women's Federation has set up branches at town-level and above, ensuring all women's rights are available in Tibet.
These days women in Tibet enjoy good living conditions and improved education. Since last year about 400,000 women have taken part in courses on agriculture, animal husbandry and wool processing technologies, according to statistics.
More than 48 health-care centers for women and children had been set up by the end of 2000, an increase of 16.5 percent since 1990.
Thanks to the work of the Project Hope, a program mainly to help poor school-age children in rural areas receive primary education, and the Spring Bud Program, a national appeal to get girl school dropouts in poor areas back to school, the illiteracy rate in Tibet has fallen by 22.2 percent since 1995, with more than 10,000 young girls now going back to schools.
(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2002)