People-to-people, UK-China Dialogue
This was an exciting opportunity to meet women from the All-China Women’s Federation (ACFW) on an exploratory visit to the UK. The Government Equality Office (GEO) in partnership with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and British Council organised the programme. ACWF expressed an interest in meeting with key women’s organisations in the UK. This was the first time gender equality was included in the programme. NAWO was invited to join a round table discussion held in December. Business and professional women in the UK joined the roundtable including Business and Professional Women UK and Royal Society of Engineering to share the UK’s approach to promoting women’s economic empowerment.
We spent a fruitful, energetic two hours exchanging ideas and thoughts on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. The gender pay gap, women in business and government in leadership roles were key themes. I provided an insight to our role and how we work and how we are campaigning for the economic empowerment for women key to building a sustainable future and closing the gender pay gap. We also spent time looking at education and business and the need to increase women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and maths. We all agreed we have a common agenda and a lot of best practice to share. The GEO are looking at how we can continue the dialogue and strengthen our relationship exchanging our ideas and thinking. We plan to link up at Commission on Status of Women (CSW) in March.
In November last year a delegation from European Women’s Lobby (EWL) were invited to attend the the Second China-EU Symposium on Gender Equality under HPPD in Shanghai. Boosting Employment and Entrepreneurship of Young Women and Work Life Balance were the two themes around which Chinese experts and EWL discussed similarities on both sides with regards to the barriers that women face in accessing finance, juggling family and professional responsibilities, deep seated stereotypes on the roles and expectations of women and shifting cultural mind sets to engage men in caring responsibilities. The visit certainly provided inspiration for potential exchange programmes, including in the framework of Erasmus + regarding digital skills, between women and youth organisations in the EU and China.