Progress hailed at women’s forum

The first Shanghai Cooperation Organization Forum on Women, which is held by the All-China Women’s Federation, kicks off in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]
Education and employment opportunities for women in China continue to improve, according to one of the country’s leading figures on women’s rights.

Females now account for 43 percent of the workforce, while 55 percent of internet-related businesses in China were launched by women, Shen Yueyue, president of the All-China Women’s Federation, said on Wednesday.

In 2011, the central government released a guideline that aimed to have females make up at least 40 percent of the workforce.

Women accounted for 52 percent of junior college students in 2016 and 53 percent of postgraduate students, according to Shen. In 2014, 49 percent of postgraduate students were female.

Shen was speaking in Beijing at the opening ceremony of the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization Forum on Women.

More than 200 participants attended the ceremony, including representatives from SCO member countries and the UN. The forum’s theme this year is “Pooling the Strength of Women for Common Development”.

Shen said 345 billion yuan ($54.1 billion) in venture capital loans had been granted to women since 2009.

She also noted progress in women’s health, with the average female life expectancy now 79.4 years. About 10 million women nationwide, including 1.5 million in rural areas, received free screenings for cervical cancer and breast cancer last year.

Among the 120 million Chinese lifted out of poverty between 2010 and 2016, half were women, she added.