China / Society

Left-behind girls face higher risks

By Luo Wangshu (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-24 08:14

Compared with their peers, girls left behind by their parents in rural areas are at high risk, according to a new report.

The nonprofit Lassock Care Found of China Social Welfare Foundation reported on Monday that left-behind girls in the central and western rural regions of China face disadvantages including nutrition, mental health and social development.

Nearly 10 percent of them live alone without guardians and more than half stay with their grandparents, the survey found. Nearly half of girls are left at home with one parent absent, the report found.

Left-behind children are those in rural areas who have one or more parents away working.

Guan Xinping, a social policy professor from Nankai University in Tianjin, said the lack of parenting would affect the girls' health and social development.

"It is not an easy process for an infant to grow to an adult, which needs care and help from their parents," Guan said. He added that parents should provide care to their children and teach them knowledge, including healthcare, housework, communication and morality.

"Lacking such guidance might cause problems," Guan said.

The report was carried out by the foundation with a research team from Zhengzhou University in Central China's Henan province and Lanzhou University in Northwest China's Gansu province.

Researchers studied 6,200 left-behind girls and their families from six provinces in central and western region: Sichuan, Yunnan, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu and Hubei.

The survey ran from August 2014 to August 2015 and attracted 6,112 valid responses from left-behind girls under 18.

China has about 60 million left-behind children as a result of rapid urbanization.

In recent years, these children's living conditions have attracted attention due to a number of extreme tragedies.

"The latest report depicts the lives of left-behind girls and provides a valuable reference for policy makers," Meng Xue, founder of the foundation.

Xu Bing, assistant professor at Zhengzhou University's public administration college, called upon migrant parents to take their children with them when they leave home.

She also called on local governments to take responsibility for caring for left-behind children.

Left-behind girls face higher risks

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