Previous studies showed that many women in rural areas experienced low levels of both physical and mental health.
A 2014 study conducted by scholars at Yunnan Agriculture University in Kunming, the provincial capital, showed that about 25 percent of young mothers in rural areas had some symptoms of depression. Meanwhile, nearly 20 percent of women had not received health checks in the previous five years.
Recently, things have changed dramatically. A survey conducted last year by Central China Normal University in Hubei province showed that six out of 10 women in rural areas regularly wore makeup, and more than 80 percent expressed confidence about their futures.
Another survey, published in December by the Institute of Digital China at the University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Ant Group Research Institute, reported that more women in rural areas are wearing makeup every day because higher incomes and enhanced social status are boosting their self-confidence.
Yang Ting, mother of a 6-year-old girl, is one of the most popular livestreamers in Yijun, a county in Northwest China's Shaanxi province that is famous for its fruit, especially apples.
Last year, the 31-year-old's excellent sales skills helped her employer register total sales volume 10 times higher than in 2019. That success saw Yang receive 12,000 yuan ($1,900) from the company as a performance bonus.
Several years ago, before she started learning about online sales, Yang was a housewife and depended on her husband for money.
"When I asked my husband for money to cover the family's daily costs, he always made a sulky face. It wasn't an equal relationship, so we divorced. Then, I tried very hard to learn new skills, such as computing and online business practices, to improve my life," she said.
"Now, I feel that my financial independence makes me more confident and braver. I spend more time cheering myself up in many ways, such as using nice makeup every day, wearing a beautiful dress or by improving my physical condition."
Yang believes that the boom in digital industries, especially e-commerce, will create more job opportunities for women in rural counties.
"Many occupations require patience, responsibility and good communication skills, which are exactly the sort of advantages that women enjoy," she said.