Fri, Jan 18, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Women matter in the workforce

By Lee Po-Chih 李博志

An aging population combined with a declining birthrate is expected to result in an inadequate workforce, which constitutes a national security problem, because economic growth would not be sustainable.

To increase the female labor participation rate, the government must provide incentives to attract women to enter the job market. One of these incentives would be to offer financial assistance to take care of children for low-income families.

To encourage women to join the labor force, the government has to establish a public nursery program to assist female workers. Part of the recently proposed NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion) “red envelope” program could be used in this aspect.

A lot of positions available for female workers are low-end jobs in the service and manufacturing sectors, and they are paid the minimum wage of NT$23,100 a month. After paying for babysitting and transportation, there is not much left.

With financial assistance to take care of their children, women would likely be more willing to work.

The government should also offer quality jobs for women. Under the green energy policy, the government intends to invest NT$980 billion to develop wind and solar energy. It should take about 30 years to develop this sector, which gives the government enough time to promote female participation in the sector.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is also undertaking a 10-year, long-term care 2.0 scheme, in which hundreds of thousands of professional healthcare workers are required.

The government should fully utilize the surplus capacity at public and private universities to train women to participate in the long-term care business.

If 15 percent of the 2 million women not working joined the labor force, it is estimated that Taiwan’s GDP for last year could have increased by US$7.7 billion, or 1.3 percent.

The government should pay attention to the importance of female labor force participation.

Lee Po-Chih is professor emeritus of economics and former vice president of National University of Kaohsiung.

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