Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Still a distance left to march

The second Women’s March in Taiwan will take place tomorrow to draw attention to the fact that despite Taiwan’s institutional achievements in gender equality, there’s still work to be done in the private sphere

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Jasmine Bai (白智芳), deputy CEO of the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (婦女救援基金會), lauds Taiwan’s legal protection for women, society should also be aware that laws are often broken. For example, she says that pregnant women still get laid off from their job, with the company chalking it up to poor job performance to avoid breaking the law.

Statistics support Bai. A 1111 Job Bank survey last year showed that 47 percent of working women reported receiving hostile treatment because they got married or became pregnant, and almost 20 percent of these women left the workforce because of it.

“Women leave the workforce voluntarily just because there aren’t many favorable conditions or options for them,” Lee says. “That’s why the problem is less apparent. One might feel that it’s normal for someone to say, ‘I’m quitting to take care of my child.’ But is there gender equality in this decision?”

CREATING COMMUNITY

When Women’s March Taiwan founder Crystal Liu (劉小妤) moved back to Taipei from Los Angeles last year, she found that resources for women’s rights weren’t readily available or accessible to everyone. She also noticed that people would often give unwanted “advice” to others according to their gender: women can’t get a boyfriend if they don’t have long hair, for example, or men shouldn’t cry.

This is the type of latent discrimination is so ingrained in society, Liu says, that people don’t realize the harm they can inflict on others.

“Some people still don’t get that women’s rights are human rights,” Liu says. “There’s still this perception that you must come from a certain educational background or have read certain books to get involved in women’s rights. Or you must be a woman, or a certain type of woman to support the cause.”

While the actual march is the group’s major annual event, Women’s March Taipei has held monthly forums, seminars and events about the pertinent issues related to women’s rights.

Partnering with different organizations, Women’s March Taiwan held a sign-making workshop at MOWES, a newly opened community space for women in Taipei, as well as a design workshop focusing on being a woman in collaboration with Totes & Tees, a fair fashion and design education company.

While many women’s organizations have specific purposes such as working with the government on certain issues or helping victims of domestic violence, Women’s March Taiwan has a simple goal: awareness that much work still needs to be done before gender equality is reached.

“Only when people think that way, will women’s rights become a basic right, something just like other rights which we can talk about every day,” she says.

Event Notes

What: 2018 Women’s March in Taiwan

When: Tomorrow at 4:30pm

Where: Meet at Liberty Square, 21, Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21號)

Admission: Free

On the Net: www.womensmarchtaiwan.com

Event Notes

What: Celebrating Women

When: Sunday from noon to 10pm

Where: Red Room International Village, Taipei Air Force Innovation Base (空總創新基地), 177, Jianguo S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市建國南路一段177號)

Admission: NT$200

On the Net: www.facebook.com/events/129461644523652

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