A political advisor from Hong Kong has called for national intervention and social protection to help rural "left-behind" women better cope with the absence of their husbands and make an improvement of their living standards.
Choi Wong Ling Ling, who is chairperson of a Hong Kong-based investment firm, made the remarks in her proposal to the first session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) recently.
According to a survey by China Agricultural University, the number of rural "left-behind" women in the country has totaled roughly 47 million, nearly 70 percent of whom often feel upset. About 50.6 percent of such underprivileged women "often feel anxious" while another 39 percent of them are liable to become depressed in their daily lives.
The phenomenon has in recent years grown into a severe social problem, which is likely to derail social stability if not resolved in a proper manner, said the political advisor from Hong Kong.
Therefore, she proposed that the nation should further strengthen its protection of "left-behind" women, extend more compassion to them by improving relevant institutions and mechanisms, and take concrete efforts to increase their levels of satisfaction.
More specifically, she made the following suggestions in the light of their unique challenges, including the undertaking of heavy farming work and household chores, having less access to employment, feeling spiritually empty and being vulnerable to social temptations.
Step up efforts to eliminate poverty, create employment opportunities through developing rural industries
Relevant government departments should come up with more favorable policies and supporting measures to accelerate the growth of signature agricultural businesses and cultivate more labor-intensive enterprises amid their endeavors to attract migrant workers to go back home, and provide them with nearby employment opportunities.
Increase 'left-behind' women's knowledge of relevant laws, regulations
Professionals and volunteers should be organized to frequently visit "left-behind" women, lecture them on the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women and other legal regulations, inspire them to utilize laws to safeguard their lawful rights and interests, monitor their psychological health, and help them develop positive values.
Hold more vocational training for 'left-behind' women
Concrete efforts should be taken by all those concerned to help "left-behind" women acquire technical skills, encourage them to develop a sense of self-respect, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement, and secure their rights to material gains and democracy.
Develop 'left-behind' women into 'new-type' farmers
Local authorities should invest more to develop rural infrastructure, broaden access for "left-behind" women to vocational training, provide female farmers with financial incentives and socialized services, and attract a rising number of outstanding people to work alongside them in the promotion of modernized agriculture.
Extend more care, compassion to 'left-behind' women
Governments at various levels should allocate more funds to support the construction of activity centers reserved for rural women where they can receive academic knowledge and technical training and enjoy cultural programs.
Officials should also encourage closer inter-department cooperation amongst the bureaus of civil affairs, justice, public security, culture, education, human resources and social security, and actively promote the urgent need to help "left-behind" women lead a life of civilization and morality, and improve their living environments as well as standards.
Moreover, grassroots Party branches should keep records of such groups and offer them timely assistance when needed.
The problem of "left-behind" women is a social problem and it deserves proactive intervention by the government, the political advisor said.