On 7 March, an event in celebration of the International Women’s Day was held at the Chinese Mission to the EU. The event was co-hosted by the Chinese Mission, APWA and Welcome to Belgium. About 200 participants gathered on this joyous occasion, including female ambassadors and diplomats, female senior officials, spouses of ambassadors and senior officials from nearly 50 countries of the Asia-Pacific and the EU, together with leaders of well-known European women associations, female diplomats and spouses of diplomats of the Chinese Mission.
Ms. Cai Xiaoli, wife of Chinese Ambassador Zhang Ming and APWA President, conveyed the best wishes from Ambassador Zhang and sent festive greetings to the guests. Ms. Cai gave a presentation on the state of play and prospects of women-related programs in China, emphasizing the strong commitment of the Chinese government to women’s empowerment. She pointed out that women’s liberation and progress contribute to the progress of all mankind, and that it is crucial to enable women to live a fulfilling life.
The Chinese government has rolled out a number of policy measures to empower women. Women now account for 24.94% of the National People’s Congress deputies, a strong testament to the enhanced political status of Chinese women. In 2017 women made up 43.5% of the total workforce and about 36% of business executives and managerial positions in China. The Chinese female scientist Tu Youyou was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, becoming the first Chinese scientist to win the Nobel Prize.
Recalling with emotions her involvement in a women and children charity program in the Gaza Strip in 1998, Ms Cai stressed that peace, justice, development and universal love are crucial conditions for women’s success around the globe. Inspired by that experience, Ms. Cai participated in charity programs in China and Africa in the following years.
Ms. Cai said that love for the common good knows no borders. Women, holding up half the sky, have a big role to play in delivering peace, mutual understanding, win-win cooperation and development, and making our world a better place to live in.
In the “My Day My talk” section, Pakistani Ambassador to the EU Ms. Naghmana Hashmi, Wife of Indonesian Ambassador to the EU Ms. Sandra Thamrim, President of Welcome to Belgium Ms. Sophie Tilemans, Honorable President of Amazon Center Ms. Monique Chalude, among other guests, shared their personal stories and expressed great appreciation to the Chinese Mission for making the thoughtful arrangements that allowed a friendly exchange of views. Other guests spoke about women’s progress in their countries, and emphasized the importance of women in family happiness and social progress.
The event also featured the debut of APWA theme song, which was written and composed with the help of the Chinese Mission, and a video clip displaying the natural and cultural landscape of APWA member states. Female diplomats of the Chinese Mission presented a traditional tea ceremony, Chinese zither performance and the traditional Han dance. The exquisite skills and elegance of Chinese women won a long and standing ovation from the audience. Guests acclaimed the event as a most warm, unique and exciting celebration and looked forward to another gathering like this.
On the same day, APWA held its monthly meeting at the Chinese Mission. APWA President Ms. Cai Xiaoli led a discussion on the preparations for an Asia-Pacific fashion show and charity sale scheduled for the coming June.