Interview: Int'l Women's Federation praises China's efforts at improving women's rights

20:05, October 09, 2009      

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The president of the International Women's Forum (IWF) expressed her delight in the efforts made by the Chinese women's federation in improving women's rights and interests.

In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing forum conference on Thursday, IWF President Esther Silver-Parker said her recent visit to China had enabled her to witness the efforts made by the All-China Women's Federation to help women start their own businesses and to help the women-run businesses change "the fabric of the society."

"We visited a pottery business. When this young woman business owner went back to her home village, she has put women and men to work. So the village was driving because of the one woman, who had a brilliant idea," Silver-Parker said.

"The federation offered her support so that she could build the idea into something that was profitable for the entire village."

Silver-Parker and her IWF colleagues have been busy organizing in Miami a gathering of prominent women from around the world, to explore ways to ensure a "better world, better business and better days."

At the three-day conference that went underway on Wednesday, All-China Women's Federation President Chen Zhili briefed fellow forum attendants about some of the federation efforts at promoting women's rights and interests.

According to Chen, the Chinese government has worked out special financing policies that envisage providing 100 billion RMB yuan (15 billion U.S. dollars) as micro-finance loans to women-run business ventures.

The Chinese government has also allocated special funds for medical checkups for cervical and breast cancers among women living in rural areas.

By the end of 2011, 10 million rural women are expected to be provided with free cervical cancer screening and 1.2 million with free breast cancer screening.

Praising the micro-finance loans, Silver-Parker said: "I think it is absolutely excited. And when you are thinking about the world, women business owners wherever they are face the same issues ... I am proud of the (Chinese) federation for supporting Chinese women in such a magnificent way."

According to the IWF chief, the health issues are prevalent around the world, but not enough attention has been placed on the issues of diseases and inflections that impact women specifically.

"The Chinese federation is saying: we are going to put extra efforts to focus on women's health issues. It is a tremendous undertaking. So it is very exciting to see," said Silver-Parker.

As the head of an influential global forum on women issues, Silver-Parker told Xinhua that one of the forum's missions is to collect insights and ideas of women's leadership across careers, continents and cultures, in order to make the future better.

"We believe that our leadership development program is the best initiative we can share with the world. Because if you teach women to be leaders, and teach women the importance of being part of the process, or the financial markets, or the political arena, if women are there and pushing and educating others, then we can make a tremendous difference for all," said Silver-Parker.

Founded in the United States in 1982, the IWF has grown across five continents into 25 countries with some 4,500 prominent members. The IWF leadership association provides access to, information on, leadership exchange and development programs on issues of international concern.

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