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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Elderly women have tougher time than men (2)

By He Dan and Cang Wei (China Daily)

08:28, November 29, 2011

"Many old women who cannot get financially independent tend to feel unsure of themselves and depressed," said Wang Yanrui, director of the Senior Citizen Cooperation, a Beijing-based NGO dedicated to improving the welfare of the elderly.

Without additional ways of making income, these women will see their lives take a serious turn for the worse if their partners die or if they have trouble getting along with other members of their families, Wang said.

Even some career women will find life after retirement to be a struggle.

Qi Xiao, 46, a worker at a liquor factory in Suqian, Jiangsu province, said she will have a hard time supporting herself if she stops working at the age of 50.

"Now I earn about 2,000 yuan ($314) a month," she said. "But I can only get a monthly pension of less than 1,000 yuan after retirement."

Qi said she knows little about how to best manage her savings to offset the effects of inflation.

Tang Can, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' center for women studies, said the longer women live, the more likely they will be to need nursing services and other support in their old age.

In China, women can expect to live to be 74 years old on average, which is three years more than men can, according to 2007 data from the World Health Organization.

Tang said the government should provide more living subsidies to women, especially those in rural China, where a social security network has not been well established.

"Women make up the majority of the elderly population," Tang said. "China will not overcome its difficulties with aging if it fails to ensure that old women have decent lives."

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