How to stay away from old men: A new course for Chinese girls

The project in Guangdong province is aimed at telling girls in middle and elementary schools how to avoid older men and stand on their own two feet, according to China Daily.

"It will focus on self-esteem, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement," said Lei Yulan, director of the Working Committee on Children and Women.

Miao Meixian, former principal of a Guangdong women technical school, criticised the phenomenon that has seen many female college students become mistresses of old men.

Miao said the young women settled for such a life because of deficiencies and failures of the education system.

Sociologists have welcomed the initiative, saying such a programme will help.

"The essence of self-esteem and self-reliance is a precious traditional wealth. Although female education used to be only appropriate for adults, it is better to start it at school now for early prevention," said Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor at Peking University.

Other said the content and scale of the project should differ according to the age of the students.

"It makes no sense to preach moral values to a six-year-old girl, while it is essential for female students who are about to graduate to be convinced of the importance of women's development and self-respect," said Zhang Wenjuan, deputy director of the Beijing children's legal aid and research centre.

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