President Tsai Ing-wen said Aug. 11 that Taiwan's journey in advancing women's empowerment demonstrates that promoting gender rights strengthens democracy.
According to the president, the government is committed to achieving gender equality through enacting concrete measures such as establishing comprehensive long-term care and child care systems and bolstering women's access to entrepreneurial loans. To fully realize gender equality in our society, we must break the grip of traditional norms, and give every woman the right to choose her role in society, and a chance to pursue her aspirations, she said.
Tsai made the comments while speaking at the opening of the four-day Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats Women's Caucus Conference in Taipei City. Organized by the CALD in collaboration with the Democratic Progressive Party, the event was being staged in Taiwan for the first time and featured lectures, forums and workshops in Taipei and the central city of Taichung.
Themed Women Empowering Women: Experiences across Asia, the conference focused on such issues as gender-based violence and the gender gap. Discussions also included strategies to boost women's engagement in business, civil society organizations and government.
The president, who doubles as DPP chairperson, said that since the end of martial law 30 years ago, the collective efforts of the Taiwan people have strengthened women's rights and increased their political participation. She highlighted the work of former Republic of China (Taiwan) Vice President Annette Lu, who also spoke at the event, stating that Lu's unwavering dedication to promoting equal rights served as a driving force for the country's democratization.
Tsai pointed to a variety of recent government efforts to enhance gender equality, including May 2016 amendments to the Act of Gender Equality in Employment stipulating that a firm with 100 or more workers must provide nursing rooms, as well as child care facilities or off-site alternatives for their employees.
According to the president, this measure, alongside the government's program to establish a comprehensive long-term care network, will reduce the family burdens faced by women, increasing their participation in the workforce and providing them with greater opportunities to follow their ambitions.
Taiwan is also doing its part on the international front, Tsai said, as evidenced by the Taiwan-U.S. subfund on women and the economy under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation announced at last year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru. As a CALD founding member, Taiwan will continue to be a staunch advocate of gender equality across the region, she added.
CALD, founded in Bangkok in 1993, offers a platform for dialogue and collaboration between democratic political parties in Asia. Officially launched in 2006, the Women's Caucus aims to broaden women's participation in member political parties and promote mainstream recognition of gender issues.
Source: Taiwan Today