The fourth phrase of social work corner for female and social work corner for female migrant workers was held in Woman Children’s Activity Centre of Shenzhen from 6th to 8th November in order to promote the development of female migrant worker service and the exchanges with practitioners for female workers.
Professor Shaopeng Song of Renmin University of China, Ms Suet Wah Choi of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Rural Women, Heart to Heart Community Care, Shenzhen Green Rose Worker Service Centre and other senior practitioners for female workers were invited to participate the Corner. The exchanges among the participants were conducted through theoretical analysis, interventional techniques, experience sharing and field workshop. The activity attracted 38 people from different high schools and social organisations in Mainland China.
The event started from group discussions on the problems and causes that women face in families, work and society. Each group analysed deeply on domestic violence, emotional labour, ignorance of housework value, employment discrimination, occupational hazards, sexual harassment and other unfair treatments that women face in the above three spheres. Participants expressed freely on the reasons behind these situations.
The first reason is the domination of male-chauvinism over feminism. Most female workers are influenced by male-chauvinism. The second reason is the lack of input of social welfare. The particularity of female workers has not been considered in legal policy. The third reason include the high mobility of female workers, the lack of social resource and support network, the weakness of group
Professor Shaopeng Song explained the situations and causes from class and gender perspectives. Firstly, she analysed the issue of “who is female worker?” She believed that this identity is associated with culture and class. The recognition in cultural realm is not sufficient. It also requires understand the structural causes. Professor Song considered capitalist patriarchy as the system that female workers face. Female workers live in a system which was created with patriarchy relations. Capital absorbs different kind of unfair systems for itself. She indicated that understanding the structural reasons is the prerequisite for us to know the goal that we pursue. She also mentioned that women's emancipation is getting rid of all systems of oppression. It is part of the liberation of human beings.
As practitioners for female workers, how can we choose a suitable strategy for meeting the needs of female workers? After the discussions, all groups pointed out that a safe environment for family, work and public spaces is needed for fulfilling the needs of female workers on security needs. The second issue is economic security. It includes salary, protections of rights, building of self-awareness, self-realisation, emotion, belongingness and other personal and daily life needs.
Ms. Choi adopted auction as a method to find out the most important needs for female workers. Education was selected as the most important needs. Other elements include the establishment of female worker group, child-care service, alternative economic cooperatives etc. The “auction” was very intense. Ms. Choi reviewed the issues, intervention strategies and work practices from four perspectives including case, group, community and society. She also assisted to examine the ideas of work and pointed out the needs of diversity of work practices for a broader working space.
Visiting Qinghu Community School was the final event of the training workshop. The functions performed by Qinghu Community School’s society, female worker group, worker band touched the participants. Many of the participants expressed that they were benefited from these events. As a result, they would like to spread the ideal of mutual cooperation and its methods in their workplaces.