Hong Jianjun, deputy president of Chifeng City Women’s Federation in Inner Mongolia since 1998, has worked hard to help the women in this disaster-ridden region to fight poverty and improve their income. Apart from skills training to enable the women to find jobs outside, she also helped them with building women’s groups and networks.
Hong Jianjun demonstrates strong gender consciousness in her work, fighting for the women’s rights and those of other minority groups. She also uses various means to increase the self-confidence of women so that they can improve their lives by mutual support. Hong has a spirit of total devotion to her work, no matter how difficult it is. Responsible, consistent, and unafraid of taking risks, she encourages women farmers and pastoralists to work outside Inner Mongolia, where people are relatively conservative. There is continuous criticism, discouragement and pressure from people, including her colleagues, but she disregards all opposing opinions and pressures, and gradually people have become more open to this new phenomenon. More than 24,000 women have been introduced to outside work by the Women’s Federation. Hong regularly goes to the pastoral areas to visit the families living there. She talks with the women and the officials, listening carefully to the women, the aged, the disabled and other minority groups, aiming to solve their problems. She is aware that women should raise their own consciousness and she leads them to work together voluntarily. This is her creative idea and work model to “build up a cooperative network and organization” among the women pastors and farmers. As of now, there are already 4146 women cooperative groups, 3330 group networks and 12 women mutual help groups being formed in the city. The number of women participating in these groups is around 86,000, and a total of 340,000 people have benefited. However, because of her dedication to work, Hong has little left to take care of her 80-year-old mother and her young daughter. She herself tends to fall ill.
Women’s Federation, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia