She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “To contribute to issues that are to the benefit of the community and society at large, I think this is worthwhile even if it is at the expense of personal interests”.
After she was transferred to the Women’s Federation of Qianxi County, Yu Guixin was able to build up a much deeper understanding on women’s issues. She and her fellow workers in the Women’s Federation attend courses on related legislation, and organize legal and gender training for women in the villages. She also set up a domestic violence complaints center, and provides forensic medical services, with the overall goal of promoting the protection of women’s rights.
Guixin Yu – China
She works for the Women’s Federation of Qianxi County, Hebei Province.
Yu Guixin is the chairperson of the Qianxi (county) Women’s Federation in Hebei Province. She was born to a peasant family in 1962. In 1982 she was admitted to the Yutian Normal School and became a teacher after graduation. In 1988 she was transferred to the Qianxi Women’s Federation. Since then, she became more concerned with and has worked relentlessly in promoting women’s rights protection. In the rural areas, people, officials in women’s federation included, often lack legal knowledge and have a low level of awareness on gender equity. Guixin took the lead and made use of her spare time to study law to become a qualified legal practitioner in 1997. Many of her fellow workers were inspired and followed suit. To make women’s rights protection more professional, organized and efficient, Guixin set up work objectives and regular appraisal systems. Guixin also worked with the public security bureau and court, and carried out the popularization of legal education at the county level.
Guixin made innovative endeavors to promote policies and rights protection. In Qianxi, she worked on establishing a violence-free family community and setting up a Family Violence Complaints Center. A clinic that provides forensic medical services has also been opened. Since many women are ignorant of their legitimate legal rights and interests when they get divorce, Guixin offers “pre-divorce” courses that include legal knowledge on rights to property and custody of children, to women in the county. Not only does she provide free legal consultation to the women who have fallen victims to family violence, she also helps them economically. Sometimes she even has to protect some women’s safety. “Women victims are our own sisters. How can we stay clear away when our sisters who are treated unfairly? We should care about their concerns and do everything we can for them,” she says.
A network is formed by the provincial women’s federation, the county legal service center, and the village rights protection team to promote better cooperation among different levels of concerned organizations. This network ensures that related problems could be handled in a more efficient and timely manner. The model of service is also being promoted to other parts of Hebei Province. And in 2004, it was nominated to the “Innovation of Local Government in China” award.
Guixin led the Women’s Federation in protecting women’s rights in culture, labor and education. Currently, she is organizing women’s legal training and other related activities. Before the direct election of women’s representatives was introduced in 1999, all women representatives were appointed. Oftentimes, they were elderly people who have little enthusiasm in politics. To promote women’s development in all dimensions, Guixin encourages grassroots women’s political participation by organizing trainings for some 3,000 rural women facilitators.
For Guixin, peace is a not a grand concept. It not only is a situation where there is no war and violence, but also where there is stability and harmony. If women’s rights are not protected, our society will be at stake, as also, real peace. (1000PeaceWomen).
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