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Peng Liyuan addresses SCO forum on women’s education, poverty alleviation

Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Tuesday addressed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) forum on women’s education and poverty alleviation via video.

Peng, who is also a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy for the advancement of girls and women’s education, said eliminating poverty and embracing happiness are the common aspirations of all women. By receiving education, knowledge and skills, women can have the power to lift themselves out of poverty.

Thanks to China’s unremitting efforts, the country has achieved a victory in the fight against extreme poverty, and hundreds of millions of Chinese women have been lifted out of poverty, she said, adding that China has adopted a series of measures to ensure women’s equal access to education and make them beneficiaries, participants and contributors in poverty alleviation.

Peng said reducing poverty through women’s education will have a strong impetus if a country attaches great importance to it, social organizations actively support it and people from all walks of life make selfless contributions.

She mentioned how Guizhou’s provincial government motivated more than 500,000 women to work at home by developing a women-tailored handcraft industry, how more than 3 million poor girls were able to complete their education under the nationally funded Spring Bud Project, and how a teacher named Zhang Guimei founded a free high school in an impoverished area that helped nearly 2,000 girls enter college.

With 435 million women still living in poverty in the world, the gender gap in education remains clear, Peng said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges to reducing poverty for women.

Over the past 20 years, since the establishment of the SCO, women from member states have followed the “Shanghai Spirit,” exchanged experiences on women’s development, promoted cooperation in various fields and contributed their share to advancing SCO cooperation, Peng said. 

We need to unite our love and make long-lasting efforts, continue to deepen cooperation in women’s education and poverty reduction, let education shine a light of hope on women and make more women enjoy opportunities to live a beautiful life, she said.

The forum is jointly organized by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), the Committee of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO and the Secretariat of SCO.

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