The Executive Yuan is hosting a gender equality seminar today in Taipei to present research on gender equality issues, report results of government efforts and discuss measures for improvement. Over 200 representatives from the public and private sectors will also be invited to examine the state of gender equality in Taiwan and make recommendations on future government policies.
Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio Lin Mei-chu will make opening remarks while experts and scholars will present academic papers on gender and population policy, women’s rights protection, women and the economy, and gender mainstreaming practices. Each of these topics will be explored in detail during discussion sessions.
Over the past two decades, the government has worked with women’s groups to enshrine gender equality into law by amending the Constitution and the Civil Code and by passing the Gender Equity Education Act, the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, three “prevention” laws (the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act), as well as the Enforcement Act of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The five branches of government have also been working in concert to promote gender policy guidelines, implement CEDAW provisions and advocate gender mainstreaming.
The CEDAW enforcement act was promulgated in June 2011 and implemented in 2012. Since then, government agencies have reviewed 33,157 laws and regulations for compliance with CEDAW’s general recommendations and will continue doing so as new recommendations are made by the United Nations.
Taiwan has proven itself to be a forerunner of gender equality in Asia: The sex ratio of newborns in Taiwan has improved. The education gender gap has narrowed as women outnumbered men on college campuses for the first time in 2014 and accounted for 50.41 percent of all university students in 2015. There are more opportunities for women to take part in policymaking (women now make up more than half of the members of the Control Yuan, about four-tenths of the Examination Yuan, and 38.05 percent of the Legislative Yuan). Women’s labor participation rate has risen, and the pay gap has been closing gradually.
Taiwan is also faced with the challenges of low birth rates and a graying society, which will contribute to a decline in the working-age population beginning this year. In response, the government has drafted a three-pronged policy on day care, long-term care and employment needs. Resources are also being integrated to build a quality, affordable and accessible community-based care system.
Aside from policy planning, the nation must consider better ways of creating a female-friendly work environment such as by training and employing more women, encouraging the hiring of middle-aged or older women, and providing flexible work schedules and locations.
The conference aims to help the public and private sectors in better understanding gender equality efforts, advancing women’s rights and promoting gender equality, all of which will in turn boost the nation’s competitiveness.