Thu, Nov 23, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Fewer women work than in other Asian `dragons'

PRIORITIES Although Taiwan has fewer female workers than Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, many Taiwanese wives opt to focus on raising their children

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The labor force participation rate of Taiwanese women stood at 47.71 percent in 2004, ranking at the bottom of Asia's four little dragons, Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) officials said yesterday.

The figure compares with Singapore's 54.2 percent, Hong Kong's 52.9 percent and South Korea's 49.8 percent for the same year, CEPD officials said.

Last year, Taiwan's labor force totaled 10.37 million, up 130,000 from 2004, with the total labor force participation rate rising 0.12 percentage points from the previous year to 57.78 percent, the officials said.

The labor force participation rate of Taiwanese men was 67.72 percent last year and that of women stood at 48.12 percent, they said.

The officials attributed the low labor force participation rate of Taiwanese women to the fact that 60 percent of married women have opted to stay at home.

Citing the results of a survey conducted by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics in 2003, the officials noted that 32.3 percent of married women responding to the survey said that their financial situation was good and that they did not need to work, while another 35.6 percent said they made the decision not to work in order to take care of their children.

The officials said that in addition to trying to change the attitude of Taiwanese women toward work after marriage and to make the work option more attractive to them, the government will attempt to increase part-time job opportunities and improve child care services.

To boost women's labor force participation, the government has launched a project aimed at training 100,000 professional "housekeepers" specializing in senior care, child care and home management over a two-year period, the officials said. They added that the government is 90 percent of the way toward meeting its target of training 43,000 people this year.

This year and next year, the government plans to train a total of 30,000 workers to care for seniors and the physically or mentally challenged, the CEPD said.

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