A platform for women to share their stories

Li Qian
From quantum scientist to domestic helper, women from all walks of life in Pudong shared their stories at a conference held at the Pudong Library.
Li Qian

From quantum scientist to domestic helper, women from all walks of life in Pudong shared their stories at a conference held at the Pudong Library.

Guo Qin still could not hide her excitement when talking about joining the Communist Party of China last year — the first domestic helper it admitted — which was based on the city’s domestic service association’s recommendation.

“I am extravagant in my admiration of the Party," she said. "I’m not well educated and don’t have a decent job. I’m just a grassroots worker, but I want to be a Party member."

Every day for three years during her lunch break and at bedtime, she learned more about the Party in the Xuexi Qiangguo (literally “studies strengthen the nation”), an app where users study and learn about the current policies and issues.

“For me, domestic service is more than just a job to make a living," she said. "It also provides me a platform to do something for others. Now that I’m a Party member, I will do more volunteer work to repay society.

Guo came from her hometown in Gansu Province to Shanghai in 2002. She became a single mother in 2008, which forced her to quit a 9-to-5 job and become a domestic helper.

“I felt discrimination at first when one of my employers didn’t allow me to use the toilets at home," she said. "But later, many employers showed me warmth, especially elderly people."

So far, Guo has served nearly 100 families, including more than 60 elderly people — four over the age of 100.

“They treat me like their family members, so I made up my mind that I have to repay them,” she said.

Now Guo is also a volunteer, offering free domestic services, buying daily commodities and getting prescription medicine for needy seniors.

Li Xiuqin, Party chief of the Changdao neighborhood, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2004, which she thought would end her career. But when she woke up after an operation, she saw local residents around her bed.

“I was told they accompanied my family members outside the operating room for seven hours," she said. "It was quite a shock. At that time, I made up my mind that if I recover, I would devote myself to them."

With chemotherapy, she has a new lease on life.

Liu Ping, chairman of the Jinqiao Town Women’s Federation, also feels a sense of achievement in her work.

A mother of a child who was tired of studying and tried to commit suicide three times came to her for help. Liu and her co-workers managed to befriend the child and offered psychological counseling to the family. The child is now doing well in school and her mother is part of Liu’s team helping others.

Other speakers included quantum scientist Yin Juan, one of the developers of domestically made C919 large passenger plane Yi Junlan and Dr Li Xin from Shanghai East Hospital.

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