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Educate Women for 'Better Society'

China has to improve women's education to make them a real force in society because empowerment of women in the country still lags behind the UN Millennium Development Goal.

This in gist is what women leaders from across the Asia and Pacific region said at the Asian Women Parliamentarians' and Ministers' Conference Tuesday.

Educating women is the key to breaking the vicious circle of poverty of disadvantaged women, International Planned Parenthood Federation Director-General Gill Greer said. Educated women mean greater "chances of education for the next generation".

Also, educated women could improve nutrition and family health and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, she said.

There still is "a daunting gap" before the Millennium Development Goal, which guarantees primary schooling for all boys and girls by 2015, is reached, Greer said.

"Even in this day of the Internet, millions of children in the primary school age cannot attend school."

Greer's views reflect a UN Girls' Education Initiative report issued earlier this month. The report says "80 million children (44 million of them girls) are out of school, with marginalized groups (26 million disabled and 30 million conflict-affected children) continuing to be excluded".

She urged the women leaders attending the conference to make full use of their capacity as decision-makers to get these children back to school.

(China Daily November 28, 2007)

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