China: Xingjuan Wang

I have realized that when one is in despair, a helping hand can light up new hope in the one who is in difficulty.

— Xingjuan Wang

Wang Xingjuan became a reporter at 20. She has been particularly concerned with the scale of problems – many of them new – that women are facing during the process of China’s reform and opening-up. She founded an organization, the Red Maple Women’s Consultation and Service Center, which launched the first of many hotlines for women. Retired since 1998, Wang continues to work for women.

Since she became a reporter for the Xihua Daily, Wang Xingjuan had been dealing with words. In 1951 she worked for China Youth as one of the first youth reporters. From 1974 she worked at the Beijing Publishing Company. When she retired, she could have chosen a writing career, but she was concerned that the process of reform was creating new problems for women, and she wanted to do something for them. She founded the Women’s Research Institute, which was affiliated to the School of Management Science and later renamed The Red Maple Women’s Consultation and Service Center. Red Maple began without an office in a one-story house that leaked rain in the summer and was windy in the winter, and was furnished with second-hand desks and chairs. “Tell us your worries, we will do our best to help” is the motto of Red Maple, which in September 1992 opened the first hotline for women in China. A year later, the women experts hotline and a second hotline for women were opened. In January 1998 a new hotline was opened for elderly women, and in March 2004 a hotline for victims of domestic violence. These hotlines have played an important role in relieving the psychological pressure on women, improving their self-confidence and self-strengthening, and enhancing their mental health. Red Maple has recruited and trained many volunteers, most of whom are highly qualified intellectual women. “Loving people, loving lives, loving society,” is how Red Maple describes its spirit.

Red Maple Women’s Consultation and Service Center