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September 18, 2010

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Women seeking to have more say on urbanization

THE government should give more consideration to the interests of women when making policies during urbanization, delegates told the International Forum on Women in Urban Development in Shanghai yesterday.

Some 300 delegates from more than 50 countries and regions agreed in a forum declaration that although women had won more respect and rights after years of effort they were facing more challenges now with ongoing urbanization.

"Women still have little voice in important issues like water, grain and oil and energy resources and big barriers still exist to hinder the realization of equality between men and women," said Chen Zhili, vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and president of the All-China Women's Federation.

"Every male government official should consider the interests of women when he drafts a policy because his daughter, wife and mother are all women," Chen said yesterday.

China is undergoing a big migration from rural areas to its cities and the population in urban areas will exceed that in the countryside for the first time over the next five years, officials said.

Rapid urbanization, while offering more opportunities to women, also brings new challenges, the declaration says.

Women should have access to health care, jobs, legal rights, education and other aspects, said Melanne Verveer, the United States' ambassador-at-large for Global Women's Issues.

Yu Zhengsheng, Party secretary of Shanghai, said the government will help women pursue equality and ensure women contribute more to the city's development.

A total of 21 ministers delivered speeches about the development and protection of women in their countries.

Participants also discussed the development of female senior talent, women in urbanization and women's responsibilities.

The forum, one of the series of the World Expo forums, was also being held to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in Beijing and resulted in the Beijing Declaration which vowed to eliminate discrimination against women.


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