|Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with representatives from the 6th National Conference on Women and Children, which was convened in Beijing on Friday.[Photo/Xinhua]|
Premier Li Keqiang called on Friday for additional care for women and children by endowing them with safer food, equal employment opportunities and improved healthcare.
Li was speaking at the 6th National Conference on Women and Children, which was convened in Beijing to promote benefits for these two vulnerable groups in fields such as education, health and employment.
China has more than 9 million children left behind by their parents who leave rural areas to work in cities and are often taken care of by aged grandparents in poor living conditions.
Care for women and children concern the country's future, and respect for women and protection of children should be promoted by everyone in the country, Li said. Since 1949, the country has adopted policies to firmly support equality between men and women and set a priority to care for children, Li said.
Food safety has been an enduring concern for parents, eight years after a high-profile scandal in 2008 involving infant formula produced by Sanlu Group, then a leading dairy company in Hebei province. The formula was found to contain chemicals that killed six babies and left thousands seriously ill.
Li urged all government departments to perfect national standards and monitoring systems for children's daily necessities, food and toys. Producing and selling counterfeit or shoddy products must be curtailed to provide every child with the most secure products, he said.
Li also vowed to create a better environment in which women will have equal chances for jobs as men and further crack down on crimes and violence against women and children, such as school violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking. The country should also improve medical care for the two groups, he added.
In 2011, the central government released a 10-year plan to promote the welfare of women and children while the country was undergoing quick economic growth. The past five years have seen an increase in women's life expectancy and a reduced infant mortality rate.
Women have contributed to their own families and made equally important achievements in fields such as science and technology, said Xia Xueluan, a guest professor of sociology at Sanya University in Hainan province.
Meanwhile, how children are raised and cared for will have a great impact on the future of their families and the country, and that's why Li emphasized the importance of both groups, Xia added.