Notes from the Field

From China: Nearly One Million Migrant Women Workers Receive Critical Services

November 7, 2007

Two San Francisco-based organizations are leading the effort to provide Chinese migrant women workers with social services, education and legal aid. The Levi Strauss Foundation entered its ninth year of partnership with The Asia Foundation – San Francisco’s largest international charity – with a $200,000 grant. The grant will help continue work protecting migrant women’s rights, and providing educational and legal services, while expanding the project into new regions.

China’s rapid economic development has brought a mass migration of workers from the country’s rural inland to the booming southern and eastern industrial cities to pursue the promise of high-paying jobs. On the way, these migrant laborers leave behind not just their families, but also social and community support and services. Since 1999, The Asia Foundation, with the support of the Levi Strauss Foundation, has been working to ensure that migrant women workers – who make up sixty percent of all migrant labor in Guangdong province – are provided free education and counseling, occupational health and safety training, HIV/AIDS awareness education, and legal services.

The Asia Foundation’s staff in Beijing works with local government agencies, Chinese women’s organizations, labor unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic leaders, and workers to build social support networks and deliver services to migrant women workers. To date, the Foundation has provided assistance to more than 740,000 migrant women workers from more than 200 factories in 22 cities and districts in China’s Pearl River Delta, the Lower Yangtze River, and in Beijing municipality and has helped enhance joint policy making in favor of migrant workers.

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