By: Huaxuan Chen

Happy Halloween and World Cities Day! This day is designed to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, all in the efforts of encouraging sustainable urban development around the world. The theme for this year’s World Cities Day is “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities”. It was chosen because cities now need support to become resilient and develop their capacity to deal with crises and to preserve human life and limit damage to various assets. For example, the ICLEI has been working with towns that are greatly affected by the climate crisis.

Although you may question how this day relates to women and girls in science, my question for you is: how can women and girls in science in cities support those in rural areas? This can be in terms of resources support, mentorship, or other solutions to close the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged population who would like to pursue careers in the sciences.

19 thoughts on “World Cities Day”

  1. From the current status quo,China has only entered a well-off society. Although almost everyone has food and places to live, the economic differences are also very serious, especially in some small villages in the remote mountains, even the only mustard and fermented bean curd Even the meat can’t eat a few pieces.On the other side,One of the most fascinating contradictions of China’s rapid growth under the auspices of the communist party has been the rapid emergence of private wealth.One of the most fascinating contradictions of China’s rapid growth under the auspices of the communist party has been the rapid emergence of private wealth.It is clear that China’s leadership has recognised how damaging such disparities can become in what is now the world’s second-largest economy.
    The government wants to lift some 40 million or so rural residents out of poverty; since 2004 it has worked to raise minimum wages for migrant workers, improve rural incomes through tax cuts and enforce labour contract law.
    The Chinese leadership also tries to force labour-intensive and low-value added industries to move to rural areas.
    Although such reforms have been described as a return to central planning or supply-side management, they suggest a recognition that the benefits of growth have not necessarily trickled down to Chinese society’s poorest.

  2. The daily lives of people living in rural areas are facing a variety of challenges.So we have to help them in every way.I am going to talk about three things.
    The first thing is there are aspects to education.The few children in the country depend on their family’s savings to read.Now some teachers are willing to spend a few years of their own time in the countryside supporting education.However, few teachers can take the initiative to participate in this volunteer activity, because the rural environment is very difficult and the geography is very remote.We should make more publicity about the need for rural children to receive education so that more people can see the news and give the volunteer certain subsidy.
    The second problem is the traffic.I think the convenient transportation can make the countryside closer to the city.Balanced development between urban and rural areas is also advantageous to a country because it now advocates comprehensive development.All in all, more money and manpower should be given to the countryside.
    The last point is about the feudal ideas of the countryside.I think it’s because they spent ten years in the mountains and had no chance to communicate with the outside world.Ask a number of cultural lecturers to come to the countryside to tell them about the development of the outside world. And continue to develop this kind of activity.Because then the villagers will not have too much isolation from the outside world.
    In summary,balanced development between urban and rural areas requires everyone to do their part.

  3. In my opinion,unbalanced development between urban and rural areas is always a big problem in every developing country.If a country wants to become stronger, it has to make the weak part of this country stronger. In most of the time, country will choose to let people in the city help the countryside by donating such as money,books or even some clothes. But a village really wants to close the gap with the city.They need more than help from the state,what they need more is change. They need to change the way they think and the social structure in the countryside.Especially avoid corruption. Or they will not be succeed.

  4. Here are some of my opinions towards the question: “how can cities support those in rural areas?”

    1. People living in the cities can do fundraising for the rural areas
    Taxes in most rural areas are too little for building good schools there, though money isn’t the only reason to decide the success of students, money is important for recruiting experience and knowledgeable teachers. As it’s difficult for rural areas to gain money, people in cities can do fundraising and make the government and wealthy people do charity for the rural areas

    2. A push for high-quality online courses
    In the rural areas, schools are often far away from children’s’ homes and they spend a lot of time on the way to school. The internet is widespread around the world nowadays, and even the poors’ house can link to broadband. Recently, online education has became popular because of its convenience and high efficiency. Cutting down on long journeys from a rural student’s home to the school, attending lessons taught by the experts, linking students who share similar interests but with great distance between them.

    3. Cooperation between rural areas and cities
    A big problem in rural areas is the lack of teachers, no many people would like to work in such a poor place for such little salaries. But there is a large amount of good teachers in big schools in the cities. Teachers in the rural areas can come to the big schools for training, or big schools can send teachers to these areas of being a model and lead the teaching progress. It’s a win-win situation for both of them. Teachers in cities can improve themselves and enrich their experience, teachers in rural areas can learn from teachers in cities and improve their teaching skills.

  5. The basic educational environment and good teachers care are necessary conditions for the healthy development of children’s emotional and physical. In poor rural areas, low-quality pre-school education makes children’s learning quality undeployed, self-care ability, cognitive ability, social adaptation, emotional are also difficult to achieve good development, which not only limits the children’s current learning and growth. It will affect its following development. Continue to increase the property in pre-university education, increase the number of parks, and improve the quality of the park.
    First, governments need to support and continue increasing and improving rural kindergarten’s coverage. Extend the gap in the number of faculty members to improve the professional quality of teachers. second, improve the treatment of teachers and increase the quality of teachers through multiple channels. Governments at all levels should increase investment in rural preschool education, actively develop public kindergartens, support the development of inclusive private kindergartens from a policy, and regularly solve the shortage of rural inclusive preschool education resources. Finally, add pre-university education funding to prevent a child from falling out of school due to family financial difficulties. In recently, governments have basically established a subsidy system for students with financial difficulties in kindergartens, compulsory education schools, ordinary high schools, vocational schools, and higher education organizations.

  6. Nowadays, we can discover that there is big gap between rural areas and urban areas. For example, the environment and health. The urban areas have much better hospitals and medical resources. However, in some rural areas, there are even no hospitals. Also, people in rural areas are much more traditional than people in urban areas. For example, women must show respects to men while men can do everything to women. Girls cannot go to schools to study but all the boys can. Many people from rural areas believe that women do not need to go to school. All they have to do is to stay at home and look after animals and kids. The best example is India. India is one of the biggest developing countries in the world. Most of them are faithful Buddhist. They consider the Ganges River as their mother river. They believe that if they wash themselves in the river, their soul can be refreshed. People can see Indians at every age washing themselves in the Ganges River. Also, many ashes of the dead are spread in the Ganges River. Many people bring a bottle to the river for drinking the water. According to an experiment, more than 3000 million litres of untreated sewage from these towns along the Ganges are pumped into the river every day. By the time it reaches Varanasi, whose untreated sewage (or most of it) is also pumped into the waters, it becomes a sewer and the sixth most polluted river in the world. So, people in the urban areas need to help to make the gap between rural areas and the urban areas smaller from every part which needs to be improved. Therefore, people in the rural areas can live healthier, happier and better.

  7. Urban-rural relations are one of the most important relationships in China. It directly affect China’s economic development.
    Nowadays, there is rapid development of science and technology. The gap between urban and rural area is too large. The gap not only appears in the economic sphere but also in areas of education . Many young people choose to go to the big city in order to have better education and after they graduate from school most of them stay in the city to have a better job instead of back to the rural area to have higher salary than in the rural area. If the government can encourage these young people to back to their hometown to construct their hometown and give them same salary as they work in the city.
    On the other hand, the problem between the urban and rural is also the problem about the relationship between agriculture and industry. China Rural Revitalization Strategy Summit Forum held in Changsha during at November the second. The idea of “industrial support for agriculture and urban support for the countryside” was put forward by Qu Dongyu ( the agricultural production quality can be increased by using new technology and people lives in the rural areas can become rich by developing trade.
    To sum up, China have large population in rural area. It is important to solve the problem in rural area.

  8. City and rural areas are not separated
    There are many rural places of the world, the local people are still living a original but a tough life. Like the Western part of the Canada, it’s not likely for an area only with fishing and forest industry to develop its own economy(何利荣, 1). Or like north-west of China, people have to climb mountains to go to a small primary school and there are no desks and chairs in the classroom, only a piece of wood blackboard, a few pieces of chalk. Children need to bring their own bench when they come to class, after class, they also need to collect chalk ash for the teacher, then mix it with water and put it into the bamboo tube, and then dry it for use. There is also no electricity in the classroom and the lighting is very poor, according to Xinhua News Agency(新京报, 2). But this is not a condition that we are not able to change, and every nation is still working hard to make a difference to it.
    Let’s take China as an example. One of the project was called “Project Hope” and it was started early in 1989(Wikipedia, 3), the project was not only for remote areas but also to some cities as the whole country was just recovered from chaos not long before, it helps to build schools, whether primary or libraries, the main idea is to improve and spread the basic knowledge to the whole country. This could be the first successful step that give people in rural areas ability to reduce the disparities. On the other hand, east of China where had a better development condition started collecting advanced technology and wealth, so that the government can develop the rural areas further. In 25 years(Wikipedia, 4), this project successfully trained a group of scholars instead of leaving the rural area with farmers and backward technology(崔子研, 5). Even though charity and governmental adjustment is not that effective, but it still worth being adopt and accepting.
    Another nation that did a smooth effect to reduce poverty is Canadian, almost 40% of people don’t have a stable job(max.book118, 6). However, they have pushed forward the idea that poverty is not only the personal responsibility, but it’s also the responsibility for the government , the “public responsibility”(max.book118, 7), and set up institutes such as the Canadian Council on Social Development(CCSD) and the Special Sense Committee on Poverty. The government detailed the “poverty line” by these institutes, also declared that the primary goal to solve the problem of poverty is education, then employment, and the last is the help by government(Knoema, 8). With this principle, they has effectively improved the situation of poor people and the proportion of poor people has dropped from 12% to 9%(Knoema, 9).
    In summary, the most efficient way to reduce the gap between rural areas and unban is to improve the quality of education balanced in these areas, then the people in rural areas will have the ability on their own to improve the life quality on their own.

    Works Cited

    [1]21 March 2015(何利荣). 加拿大政府促进欠发达地区经济发展的政策措施及启示(Policy Measures and Enlightenment from Canadian Government to Promote Economic Development in Underdeveloped Areas)
    [2]7 February 2018(新京报). 希望工程:从“有学上”到“上好学”(Hope Project: From “able to learn” to “attain better college”)
    [3]3 April 2018. Project Hope_Wikipedia
    [4]3 April 2018.Project Hope_Wikipedia
    [5]31 October 2014(崔子研). 希望工程25周年 如果没有这些“如果”(25th anniversary of the Project Hope, if there is no these “if”)
    [6]11 August 2018. 1960年代以来加拿大关于社会贫困问题研究(Canadian Studies on Social Poverty since the 1960s)
    [7]11 August 2018. 1960年代以来加拿大关于社会贫困问题研究(Canadian Studies on Social Poverty since the 1960s)
    [8]2018. World Data Atlas_Knoema
    [9]2018. World Data Atlas_Knoema

  9. Now the rural areas across the world and urban areas are strongly contrasted in their living conditions, resources and access to education. So in my opinion this is not a good phenomenon. The people who live in urban area need to help the people who live in the rural parts of the country In my opinion there are several aspects that urban areas need help in. Rural areas need more education development, technological development and environmental development. Those points are the basic requirements for improve the living standard in rural areas. Mainly talking about education development, everyone knows that children are the hope of a country in the future. Thus, in my opinion, we need to provide rural children good education conditions so that we can help the rural communities progress. Next we should talk about environmental development. Health is the most important thing about one person, so we have to help people in the rural area to avoid suffering from illness. This is also what the country should do. Lastly, we need more technological development. If rural area have good technological then there will isn’t always the lowest position in one country. Simultaneously they can have their own industry.

  10. What are rural areas? Rural areas are places where everyone is poor, they sometimes lack entertainment, natural resources and healthcare. In these places, people will never be able to know how life is or how life could be. Unlike these forbidden lands, lives in cities are comfortable. People in cities should try to help the ones who live in rural areas. In the following paragraphs, plans will be provided on how cities may help those in rural areas.
    Cities may provide education support to rural areas. Education is an important part to do with the rural areas problems, and it is also a major reason why people in rural areas cannot enjoy e the same standard of living as people in cities — lack of knowledge. There is an approvable plan to solve this problem: First, build up public schools in those areas, even if they are not in favor of it. This might sound cruel, but education is unreplaceable for a group to develop. Second: send more teachers who volunteers to come and teach those poor students. These teachers need to have patients, or they will not be able to stay in countryside for long. Third: These public school should be free. These poor people are having trouble feeding themselves, so they will have no money to pay for school, so it must be free. This may sounds like having no profit, only paying out, but when people consider that more than 30 percent of all (China) can be employed, which means it can also improve the country’s economy.
    Besides this, people in cities may organize more activities to help them, such as Charity sale. These activities can also help those poor people to stabilize their situation, not getting worser. Charities could be done in schools, supermarkets and subways, these places have one thing in common: they all have a huge amount of passenger flow. Thanks for the passenger flow, large quantity of people could have the chance to do some donation. With these donations, people who lives in rural areas will enjoy a much better life.
    Cities should provide certain amount of health care. The death rate of rural areas are extremely high. With low quality of healthcare, people die from surgeries, cancer, even childbirth. In other words, lacking of healthcare is the main reason why the population of rural areas are limited. By sending experienced doctors to these local hospitals, will change this situation.
    In conclusion, people who have the abilities should try to help others, even if it’s a tiny contribution.

  11. There is still a long way to solve the problem of the gap between rural area and urban area. From my perspective, the main reason is that the public investment of the government to the rural area is much less than to the urban area. I think what we need to do is to increase the investment and enable our rural area to achieve better public services. Therefore the people in the rural area can have a better health care, better education and have more chance to improve their work environment.

    The second reason why the gap exist is the jobs they do are different. The rural people in China are mainly engaged in the primary industry——agriculture, while the urban residents are mainly engaged in the secondary and tertiary industries, namely, the industry and services. Although the agricultural labor force is large, the profit rate is generally low and the industry and service industries are paid more. So I suggest government should pay more to the people which are working in the rural area and balance the pay gap. Therefore the people live in the rural area will get more paid and live a better life.

    The other reason caused this problem is the lack of manpower. Due to making money in the city is easier, many rural laborers go to cities to work and make money or even settle down. However, the construction relies mainly on the labor force. The rural lacks the young and middle-aged labor force. Who will reform the rural areas and who will increase the GDP of the rural areas? What can government do is recruiting talented people to the rural area and help them develop the countryside and as soon as possible to catch up with the speed of urban development; narrow urban-rural gap yet there is still a long way to go to achieve this goal.

  12. Nowadays, the difference between cities and suburbs becomes really huge. The people who live in the city usually have better education, better work, and better accommodation than people who live in rural areas. This great difference may cause a series of problem, so we have to do something to lessen the gap between the people in the city and in the suburbs.
    My first suggestion is that we can provide more work for the people from the rural areas. Nowadays, there are plenty of hard work, and lots of citizens are not willing to do them. However, compared to the citizens, people from the suburbs can bear harder environment and are more hard-working. Therefore, I think it is a brilliant idea to provide these hard jobs to those people from the suburbs.
    My second suggestion is that we can organize activities: let some experienced teachers go to the suburbs to train some skilled teachers. Nowadays, the difference of education level between city and countryside is huge. Most of the good schools are located in the modern cities, and in the country, people usually have a poor education. I think my idea can effectively reduce this problem.

  13. Challenges of populations living in rural area
    There is no question about the fact that there still currently is an undeniable gap between the urban areas and rural areas nowadays. I believe that the poor education, the destitute health care and the concentration of poverty are the main problems existing.
    As a result of the lack of modern techniques and social services — health care — low salary, and tough environment, most of the experienced teachers are not willing to go to the rural areas. This deprives the children in smaller, remote communities of high quality education. To improve this, I suggest the government should take many related encouraging policies into effect, and set the arrangement of exchanging teachers to rural areas once a year, two months at a time. Moreover, we can organize the donation activities quite often, gathering the warm-hearted help and small strength together from the whole society to make a joint effort to improve the environment of the study there.
    As mentioned above, the problem of destitute health care should be solved as soon as possible, as it is related to many other aspects. From my point of view, the government should enlarge their investments towards the rural areas and enable the rural areas to develop various social welfares, especially the health care, ensuring the basic health of the people there. Furthermore, the medical companies, especially those international medical companies, should show their corporate social responsibility (CSR) for people’s health condition, offering medical equipments at a low price and specific training to the doctors there for free.
    The concentration of poverty is the most challenging one among the three problems I put forward. In the background of the rural areas, everything inside is related to each other. The poor education leads to the shortage of the talented, which is bad for the competitiveness and the growth of a company. In addition, the destitute health care, as well as the destitute welfare, does not attract the talented people to go there, even for those talented people who came out from the rural areas. Therefore, the two problems above should be worked out as soon as possible. Besides, we should also focus on the environment issues. Many factories are just removed from the urban areas to the rural areas. This is a kind of deceitful actions. Our home is not just the city we live in, but also the earth. Thus, we should be aware of the gradual-worse environment around us. The only way to fix it is to reduce the pollution as much as possible, while trying our best to discovering or creating a proper energy resource which can replace the fossil fuel completely.
    To sum up, to make an improvement on the rural areas, it needs the strong support from the government, the CSR of the private companies and the citizens’ consciousness towards a better future. The joint effort will no doubt contribute greatly to the world as well as the improvement of the rural areas.

  14. My name is Amy Chen. I’m a Chinese student studying in Altdorf, Switzerland. I agreed with Huaxuan Chen. Populations which are living in rural areas always face challenges in their daily lives because of many reasons.
    In my hometown, China, the urban obligation education is borne by the national finance, while the rural obligation education is supported by the farmers themselves. At present, the average number of education years for urban population has reached 13 years, while the average number of education years for rural population is less than 7 years, nearly double the difference. This situation exists because there are few teachers and few schools in the rural areas, and the education there is not very completed. And there is another important reason that a lot of parents in the rural areas let their kids work for them instead of studying. They want them to make money for their families. I think the government should change the thoughts in rural areas, and spend more money on the education for children instead of building modern buildings.
    Populations living in rural areas do not have enough hospitals in their community, and the skilled, experienced doctors as well. Statistics show that the average annual death rate of rural population is much higher than that of urban population. In my opinion, the government should force the famous hospitals in the cities to send some experienced, skilled doctors to the rural areas for a few years, and tell the people living in rural areas more about health and medical knowledge.
    In my mind, the most serious problem in the rural areas is that female babies are always thrown or killed by their parents when they were just born just because of their female identities. These kind of things always happen in Asia, and especially in China. People in rural areas can do these kinds of things cruelly because of their feudal ideas.
    So the government should give people in rural areas more information about the new world and the new ideas to develop the situation in rural areas.
    I really hope that the governments around the world can do something to help the people in rural areas.

  15. The world’s population is becoming increasingly urban.
    I believe this is because accesses to health care, living standards, living condition, education, infrastructure etc. quality in cities are highly different as compared to villages.
    This would cause people to be urban rather than just living in a simple village or a town.
    For example, I live in a village called Yiwu in China. The healthcare in Yiwu is very bad. For example, if a person got ill, doctors might ask them to go to a city nearby due to the lack of healthcare or the skills of doctors. This example shows how bad the living standards.
    Furthermore, education in Yiwu is not good as well as compared to cities including the living conditions. For example, in Yiwu, there are only two international schools. They are regarded as the best in the village, but those schools might be regarded as a very normal one if compared to cities.
    Nerveless, if I live in a city like Shanghai I would have more opportunities and a wider range of choices. For example, in Yiwu, there are only five shopping malls. However, in Shanghai, there are much more.
    Action needs to be taken to improve life for people in rural communities.
    More affordable housing, training opportunities for young people and financial support to provide services and help care for an aging population is vital, as well as improving education quality, increasing peoples wage to be able to have better living conditions and satisfy their needs.
    Many countries have been in these problems for a long time. However, rarely someone took an action. I think we should not wait for more than that. It is time for us to take a serious action. People are dying every day because of bad healthcare, people are not working because of lack of skills. People cannot even satisfy their needs, which is a big problem.
    How long more do people need to wait???

  16. How those in cities can support those in rural areas
    The daily lives of people living in rural areas are facing a variety of challenges. We must,therefore,have to help them in every way. I am going to talk about three things.
    The first thing is there are aspects to education that are issues in rural communities. The few children in the country depend on their family’s savings to read. Some teachers are willing to spend a few years of their own time in the countryside supporting education. However, few teachers can take the initiative to participate in this volunteer activity, because the rural environment is very difficult and the geography is very remote. We should make more publicity about the need for rural children to receive education so that more people can see the news and give the volunteer certain subsidy.
    The second problem is the traffic. I think having a more convenient mode of transportation between the countryside and city, can make the countryside closer to the city. Balanced development between urban and rural areas is also advantageous to a country because it now advocates comprehensive development. All in all, more money and manpower should be given to the countryside.
    The last point is about the feudal ideas of the countryside. I think it’ is because they spent ten years in the mountains and had no chance to communicate with the outside world. Ask a number of cultural lecturers to come to the countryside to tell them about the development of the outside world. Continue to develop this kind of activity.In that way, then the villagers would not have too much isolation from the outside world.
    In summary, balanced development between urban and rural areas requires everyone to do their part.

  17. With the rapid development of science and technology, most countries are now more far prosperous than before. However, it is true that the rural areas did not adapt to such quick development. There is great part of population of rural communities in China as a report said that ‘Some 50.3% of China’s mainland population (or 674.15 million people) continue to live in rural areas’. Apparently, there are many problems exposed in the management of rural communities. It is reported that the economic inequality in China ranked the fifth globally (from Wikipedia) which clearly indicates the seriousness of this issue. It must be treated properly.
    There are two ways of providing solutions that I can come up with: firstly, in order to solve the problem in the long run, the most important things are the access to resources. Many rural people do not have enough to eat now. Giving villagers something to eat and helping to build modern facilities is an essential part of the process. In order to let people pay more attention to this issue, gathering people to raise money is a good method. In the meanwhile, the government should fully support and help. After a good environment, popularization of education is also significant. We should cultivate those people well and make them useful to the society. In order to attract the teacher, give those teachers a high salary. Above all, we should support and help rural construction and development.

  18. Hi Huaxuan, I feel mentorship and sharing links is definitely the start..and this could be more formalised with partnerships between well resourced/ well connected schools and smaller, often less resourced, rural schools, with open source STEM teaching. I think the benefit also works the other way around, for example, an exchange system with visits to the countryside would benefit sensory deprived urban students to increase their literacy regarding the natural world. Twin labs/ makerspaces could also be set up for collaborative projects. There also should be a science library scheme in rural areas for students to borrow things like electronics and breadboards to tinker with at home or in after school time to match the many free educational opportunities available to city students at science museums etc. These schemes should be very girl encouraging as rural areas tend to be more conservative and so girls living in the countryside may be even less encouraged/less confident in STEM than those in urban areas.

  19. Some ideas about the urban-rural economic gap
    As a original Chinese, I am more than happy to see the economy of China has developed really fast in the last forty years. However,there are still a plenty of problems for us to deal with at the same time. One of the most serious problems is that the urban-rural economic gap does exist. It has a strong influence on education. Most children in rural areas are not able to get good education, and students who have a willing to pursue careers in science cannot realize their dream. Therefore,to solve the problem of the gap between urban and rural education is of vital importance.
    First of all, cities should provide certain resources to rural areas. Rural areas are located in remote areas and deep mountains. It is not usually abundant in material resources. Therefore, a certain degree of material and spiritual poverty is caused. If the city gives the rural appropriate resources, it will certainly alleviate the rural material shortage burden.
    Secondly, cities should provide funds to strengthen rural infrastructure. The economic base determines the superstructure. With the help of the cities, people from the rural areas have the material basis to develop business, and thus embark on the road to wealth. This is of great significance to education. The fact that children have bigger and brighter classrooms, more advanced teaching equipment and more comfortable and professional sports fields is of great significance to their development. Furthermore, the government should step up social security efforts, introduce anti-poverty policies to guarantee happiness and the quality of life of the rural population.
    Third, cities should introduce science and technology and talents to the countryside. A Chinese leader once said: “science and technology are the primary productive forces.” With technology and talent, the countryside will have better opportunities and broader prospects. Education is the foundation of people’s livelihood. Improving the quality of teachers is the first task of improving education. Only by improving the quality of teachers can children acquire more effective and elite knowledge and become pillars of the motherland when they grow up.
    To make our country prosperous and strong, the gap between urban and rural wealth is the most urgent problem we need to solve. The author believes that the problem of rural poverty will eventually be solved as long as the whole society work together.

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