An International Comparison Of The Effects Promoted By Taiwanese Women's Policies
Women’s awareness of power in Taiwan originated from the May Fourth Movement in 1919, when women began to become aware of “human rights”. After the publication of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947, equality between men and women began to obtain legal protection. In recent years, Taiwan government has been working hard to revise women’s laws. The “Women’s Policy Platform” passed in 2004 included women’s political participation, women’s labor and economics, women’s welfare and poverty alleviation, women’s education and culture, women’s health and medical care, and women’s personal safety, as subjects of focus to enhance the rights of women.
This study was based on the results of the “Women's Policy Platform” and was compared with the “Gender at a Glance in R.O.C.” from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics of the Executive Yuan to understand the implementation progress of Taiwan’s women’s policy. Sources included "OECD Gender Equality Indicator", "United Nations Development Programme" and Taiwan's Gender Inequality Index (GII) from 2008 to 2015, with reference to advanced and neighboring countries including the eight OECD member states, which were Japan, South Korea, the United States, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia, to cross-examine the effectiveness of women’s policy in Taiwan.
The study results found that Taiwanese women outperformed in several categories, including women’s share of parliamentary seats, female unemployment, the ratio of female business owners, the average salary ratio of female employees in industry and service industries to male salary, the proportion of population above 25 years of age with education above average, the ratio of female with higher education and the birth rate of underage females at age 15 to 19. In comparison with international indices where the policy implementation must be reinforced, the ratio of female public servants, the difference in gender employment ratio, the average female life span, the gender suicide mortality rate and the suicide rate of working women in Taiwan, particularly showed poorer scores in ranking. Although there was no international data available to compare "women's welfare and poverty alleviation", the government's effort did show a trend of improvement from relevant data. The number of women's welfare service centers, the general condition of nursery care in the community, the marriage and childbearing (resuming) profile of married women aged 15 to 64 and many others, have greatly improved, especially when the government actively promoted the kinship care policy, where apparent increase was observed in the number of primary caretakers for children of women in marriage and the number of relatives as caretakers. The most pressing indicator for improvement was "women's personal safety", which barely showed any progress. The ratio of female as victims has remained at 8 to 90%.
International gender rating showed Taiwan as one of the countries with fair equality to both genders that women in Taiwan enjoyed high level of education, low fertility rate, low child care rate and low labor participation rate. It was clear that Taiwanese women have gradually moved away from traditional role, even though they still encounter difficulty in workplaces. Compared with other advanced countries, women in Taiwan spent more time in education, and yet show lower labor participation rate. If Taiwanese women choose family over job, there are problems of decreasing child care ratio and fertility rate. Taiwan’s gender inequality index was low and women’s roles and responsibilities were not balanced. In general, citizens were able to enjoy rights, but they tend to dodge obligations, marriage, maternity and employment as they seemed to be unwilling to bear more burdens, which could be contributed to Taiwan’s employment environment, or there was still much room for discussion about gender education in Taiwan.
Index Terms—Women's Policies, Gender Equality Indicator, Gender Inequality Index