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Why Women Count: China - Geng Liufen's New World
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Why Women Count: China - Geng Liufen's New World
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Geng Liufen met her husband in the large city of Kunming. But after witnessing how isolated women in his home village of Zuji were, Liufen decided it was up to her to change the status quo and help Zuji's women get the education, training and health information they needed to transform their lives.
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Camera: Gong Qing
Sound: Gong Jie
Supervisor: Xiong Wenping
Producer: Zhang Yue
Director: Zhou Quanquan
Production: Half the Sky - CCTV

Coordinated by tve.

Learn more about the series Why Women Count.

Series supported by Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Global Opportunities Fund (FCO), UN Population Fund, UNIFEM/UN Women, and Al Jazeera English.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Why Women Count
TITLE
Geng Liufen's New World
VOICEOVER
Zuji is located deep in the mountainous region of Guizhou, a remote province in southwest China. The women living here had never left the mountains, and hardly anyone had ever visited the village. But in 1998 everything changed. Geng Liufen met Zhou Yingzue, a young man from Zuji. They met when she was working in Kungming, a large city. Zhou took Geng back to his small village during the spring festival. The journey there involved taking the train, then a bus, and finally on foot since there is no road access into the village. It took them a week to get to Zuji. The couple got married and had a family. But they were so poor that Geng ran away from the small village several times.
ZHANG YUE [Journalist]
You left your husband just like that? You ran away, you didn't care about him anymore? How could you?
GENG LIUFEN
You are right. I really felt bad about it. My child, my elder daughter, was only a year old when I left the first time.
VOICEOVER
Geng Liufen did care about her husband and her children. She decided that she had to accept her life in the village and instead she wondered how she could improve the situation.
GENG LIUFEN
The women in the village are illiterate. They can't even read numbers.
ZHANG YUE
Can't they?
GENG LIUFEN
No they can't. I work during the daytime and I get them to come here and learn in the evenings.
ZHANG YUE
So you convinced each family to study just in your small hut without electric light? How did they manage in the evening?
GENG LIUFEN
We use the pot to fill the lamp with oil brought from outside, and then we light the lamp for their study. They have shown a tremendous interest in learning.
ZHANG YUE
Yesterday when I was in the mountains I wondered how the village copes with people who are sick. How do women cope with pregnancy and childbirth? I guess they can't leave the village and it's impossible to find a hospital.
GENG LIUFEN
I suffered a lot when I gave birth to my eldest daughter. The labor took three or four days. I nearly died when I eventually gave birth.
VOICEOVER
Geng Liufen now leaves the village every two weeks, trekking over the hills to get vital medicines from the outside world. She has also attended a course in a hospital so she can help other women when they go into labor.
GENG LIUFEN
And after giving birth to a baby, everyone should be careful. You should not have sex until after 42 days, otherwise it may cause vaginal bleeding and can even cause a massive hemorrhage due to the womb failing to constrict. This can be fatal. Are you taking notice of what I'm saying? Okay, you are listening now!
ZHANG YUE
Besides literacy and health problems it seems the most critical thing is poverty, the lack of money. How can you help them?
GENG LIUFEN
They worry about being given forged notes and it's a problem for them to bargain when they are trying to sell their eggs and chickens.
GENG LIUFEN
Please note! All members of our community! Please come to the Public Activity Room at 12:30pm. I can show you from experience that if you think the note is forged you can put a little saliva on it and rub it. If the note produces layers when you rub it, don't accept it. When it is a new note, if it doesn't make a crisp sound when you shake it, the note is also a forged one.
VOICEOVER
Geng Liufen hopes the women of the village can make some money for themselves. With some economic independence they will gain more confidence. In March 2004, for the first time, Geng Liufen and some other women left their homes and arrived at the market at midday after walking over two mountains. In the past women always needed help from their fathers or husbands to get to the market. Now they are here and they can sell their goods. They are surprised that they can earn money by themselves. Farm Women, a non-governmental organization, is also helping. Since it began in 1998 it has helped nearly 4,000 rural women. Geng Liufen also got the opportunity to learn more.
GENG LIUFEN
Last December I went to Bejing for a training course organized by Farm Women. They helped me apply for a World Bank loan to set up the Women's Development Association in Shimen to help attract investment to the area.
ZHANG YUE
Not do you have a broad international outlook, but you also know how apply for a World Bank loan to develop the Rural Women's Association!
GENG LIUFEN
If we want to improve things, then access is a big problem for us. We still think that we are neglected because there is no road to our village, and so there is no chance for us to make any progress.
VOICEOVER
Sometimes people rely on external forces to change things. Geng Liufen, however, with just a junior high school diploma, is leading the women of Zuji in gradually changing their destinies and improving their lives.
TITLE
[End credits]