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Migrant women need more help finding place in big city

(Shanghai Daily)

10:21, November 15, 2012

MIGRANT women working in Shanghai need more help finding their place in the city, the Shanghai Women's Federation said yesterday.

In a survey released by the federation, two in three migrant women in Shanghai said they don't have local friends.

The federation called for more employment opportunities and more trainings for migrant women in the city, while getting them more involved in all kinds of activities.

"Although we have run many projects targeted to serve migrant women, they hardly know about it and tend to consult help from their villagers rather than local authorities," according to Zhang Chen, vice president of the federation.

"We need to make our name better known among migrant women so that we could hear more from them and then help them more," Zhang said.

Migrant women have become a major labor source for the city's service industry, but most work in unskilled positions, the survey said.

The survey queried 1,200 migrant women 18 to 55 years old in Shanghai. Up to 63 percent were from rural areas and 53.4 have lived in Shanghai for more than five years.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they worked in low-level positions such as line workers, security guards and domestic helpers.

Factories had the biggest number of migrant women at 22.1 percent. That is followed by wholesale and retail companies, domestic services, and restaurants and hotels.

Those aged over 35 accounted for 70 percent of migrant women who worked as ayi, or domestic helpers, a common job among migrant women that requires fewer skills, the survey said.

The survey found 61.7 percent of the respondents hadn't received any vocational training, which limited their choice of jobs. Government-supported training accounted for the least proportion among all types of training.

The average monthly income of the respondents was 2,659.7 yuan (US$427), lagging behind the city's average of 4,331 yuan. It was also far from their ideal monthly income of 5,664 yuan, the survey said.

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