BY CHIU YU-TZU
Saturday, Aug 13, 2005,Page 3
President Chen Shui-bian bows yesterday as he convenes the first meeting of a task force on gender equality in government policies. Attorney Yu Mei-nu, seated beside Chen, is one of the members of the task force.
PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
The importance of mainstreaming the gender perspective into all policies was acknowledged by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who yesterday convened the first meeting of a task force established to ensure gender equality in government policy.
"Undoubtedly, Taiwan's society is constructed by traditional concepts regarding male superiority over women. In order to fulfill our gender-equality objective, we need sufficient manpower and budget to develop strategies to ensure people have a real understanding of gender issues," Chen said.
Gender mainstreaming -- which means integrating the gender equality objective into community policies -- was first addressed in 1985.
At the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in Beijing in 1995, participants and the UN agreed to promote the "mainstreaming" of a gender perspective in policies and programs.
Yesterday, Chen called on the Executive Yuan to incorporate gender mainstreaming ideas into policies, including population planning.
According to Chen Hui-shing (陳惠馨), a law professor serving as the task force's deputy executive-general, "gender mainstreaming" has become a key factor in national development.
"Taiwanese people need to have a greater understanding of gender issues, because more people here face difficulties in getting married. Advertisements for foreign-spouse matchmaking agents have words which devalue women in poorer countries and discriminate against Taiwanese women as well," Chen Hui-shing said.
In a report presented by Liu Chung-tung (劉仲冬), a sociology professor who is also a member of the newly established task force, the divorce rate in Taiwan has been increasing ever since 1975.
The rate in 2003, 0.29 percent, was already higher than that of several countries, including Germany, Japan, China and Singapore.
Liu said that young people in Taiwan have limited abilities to establish intimate relationships based on equality.
"If traditional values stressing male superiority over women remain dominant, in the future we will see more intercultural marriages between Taiwanese men and women from developing countries, as well as more domestic violence," Liu said in her report.
Another task force member, attorney Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), said that the idea of "having a son to carry on the family name" remains dominant in Taiwan but women should not be treated as a tool by the government to control the population.
The task force will look into the relationship between gender mainstreaming and other issues, including development, human rights and cultural diversity.