Training women to lead in rural China

A task force formed to support China's rural women’s participation in local politics convened in Shaanxi province in November 2011, as part of an UNDEF-funded project to empower women in areas where patriarchal values still dominate village governance. The group brought together representatives from Shaanxi, Heilongjiang and Hebei as well as Huazhong Normal University to discuss strategies and best practices. A few weeks earlier, the project held extensive training sessions in survey and interviewing techniques in Heibei Province. The overall UNDEF-funded initiative engages marginalized rural women in village-level governance and helps raise their awareness of democratic participation; seeks to mobilize them to participate in village elections; strengthens their decision-making skills; and trains them to monitor public affairs at the village level. The project is implemented by Women’s Watch China, a local NGO. It is one of three projects funded by UNDEF in China.