Education & Empowerment Build Successful Communities
According to the All-China Women’s Federation, over the next 20 years, more than 300 million rural Chinese will migrate to the cities in search of jobs. Although they contribute greatly to economic and social development in China, migrants are not yet fully assimilated into urban society and face legal and social inequalities.
Migrant women, who account for 25% of married women of childbearing age in China, face unique challenges. Many don’t have access to health education or information, including reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, contraception use and infant mortality. In recent years, the Chinese government has worked to improve women’s development and while progress has been made, there is still more to be done to help educate migrant women and their families.
Jabil’s Huangpu Site Implements Program to Empower Women
Jabil’s Huangpu site in China understands women’s health is a vital issue and recently implemented a Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) program called Health Enables Returns (HER). The program educates female employees about women’s health and safety issues. Many female employees at Jabil’s Huangpu site migrate from rural areas and know very little about reproductive health. Ling He, Training Manager at Jabil Huangpu, has been leading the application of this new program. “Most of our female employees are from rural regions and start working without higher education. Jabil has the responsibility to promote their awareness of health and self-protection,” Ling explains.
BSR launched the original HER project in 2007 to improve women’s awareness of general and reproductive health and provide access to basic health services. So far, close to 175,000 women in developing countries have been helped by the HER Program; 10,000 of the women are from Jabil’s Huangpu facility. Aside from teaching about health, the daily program also demonstrates techniques for team building, coaching, empowerment and accountability.
The program has benefits that extend to other members of the community as well. According to Ling, “Research shows that empowered women are more likely to invest in the education, nutrition and health of their children. And as wage earners, women contribute to the economic success of their family and community.”
Additionally, the HER program women demonstrate reduced absenteeism and turnover, and enhanced productivity. The women also share valuable health information with male friends, family and peers, multiplying the impact of the program. Jabil hopes to expand the program even further by adding more peer educators and resources for the female employees.