In the exhibition held in the National Museum of China in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, one image shows an embroidery training course organized by Zhangye Women's Federation, in northwestern China's Gansu Province. There, women of the Yugur ethnic group practice embroidery; some hold needles and thread while others look on and sketch.
Such a course was made possible by the low-interest loans issued by the local government in Zhangye. The federation organized over 60 embroidery training sessions, providing service to more than 2,500 students in total.
Up till now, over 1,000 women have found work in embroidery production and processing, which has boosted the development of the local textile industry and lifted the incomes of locals.
Other photos in the exhibition show the stories of persistent and hard-working women forging ahead during the course of reform and opening-up. Beyond the stories, visitors can see the dedication and innovation of local women's federations, according to organizers.
Leading Women towards Entrepreneurship
Longyuan Crafts Poverty-Relief Workshop was launched in Weiyuan county of Gansu not long ago. The workshop, comprised with 18 Longyuan craftswomen, aimed at providing hand-made straw hats to the market. With high quality products, they quickly received their first order from abroad.
According to Zhang Hongxia, a craftswoman, ''It only took us 20 days to complete that order. Our hand-made straw hats have made it to the international market. That's what delights us most.''
Almost 200,000 women have acquired hand knitting skills via the training. Their average annual income has increased by 2,000 yuan.
Besides training, the provincial women's federation has introduced many other measures to alleviate poverty, promote entrepreneurship and innovation.
In 2009, Gansu became one of the eight pilot provinces for female small amount guaranteed loans, which provided significant stimulus for female entrepreneurs.
Since 2012, over 431,800 women in Gansu benefited from the policy. On average, the local government issues about 1.2 billion yuan a year. The small amount loan policy has now been adopted nationwide.
In response to the call of President Xi Jinping that women should shoulder the responsibility of caring for elders and educating children and act as moral role models in society, local women's federations have organized work on family civilization construction.
Since Feb. 2014, the Looking for the Most Beautiful Family campaign has been widely carried out to present role models to the public and showcase the residents' happy lives, positive family traditions, their dreams and aspirations, and tell their stories of building a harmonious family.
As of 2014, the Gansu Women's Federation has selected 300 "most beautiful families" at provincial level, of which 81 are recommended for "most beautiful families" at national level, with 10 receiving the award nominations. Through such activities, more families are actively cultivating good family traditions, and striving to become "the most beautiful families".
Through the Most Beautiful Courtyard Project initiated in July, 2017, the locals have paid more attention to sanitation, making their yards clean and neat, and using simple and elegant domestic equipment.
Safeguard Women's Legal Rights
Although the protection of women's rights and interests has made huge progress, the violation of women's rights still exist. Efforts are being made to urge the protection of women.
In order to solve the problem of domestic violence, the local women's federation set up volunteer lawyers and psychological consultation teams in 2007. Three years later, 86 counties in Gansu successively set up the special hotline “12338” to safeguard women's legal rights.
In addition, expert teams and psychological consultant associations for the protection of women and children's rights have been established. There are still many other actions taken to improve the status quo.
With a series of efforts taken by Gansu, women's rights in all aspects are under better protection. The social environment for women's development has improved significantly, say officials.
(Source: people.com.cn / translated and edited by Women of China)