Sat, Mar 09, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Yu thanks women, but some not impressed

GENDER EQUALITY While the premier kissed his wife and gave her flowers, female legislators accused state-run companies of discriminating against female employees

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun used the occasion of International Women's Day yesterday to thank the nation's women, his female colleagues in the Cabinet, the legislature and his wife.

But female lawmakers took aim at state-run enterprises, criticizing them for discriminating against women and blocking their promotion.

Addressing about 30 female lawmakers and Cabinet officials attending the Cabinet's tea party to celebrate Women's Day, Yu expressed his appreciation for the nation's women.

"I'm grateful for the nation's women because they devote themselves to various jobs and help lead the country in a prosperous direction," Yu said.

He said he also owed his female colleagues in the Cabinet and legislature his personal thanks, because they had done their best to make his job easier and more efficient.

"Without their help, I would've run into many more difficulties after taking office," he said.

He said that he was particularly grateful to Yang Pao-yu (楊寶玉), his wife of 24 years.

"Like ordinary married couples, we laugh, we cry, we argue. I wouldn't have gone this far if it was not for her love and support over the years," he said.

Yu called on men across the nation to judge themselves on International Women's Day every year to see whether they had contributed over the previous year to gender equality.

"All women deserve to be happy every day instead of only one day a year, on International Women's Day," Yu said.

Yu, the sole male administrator attending the event, was asked to present a bouquet to his wife, who accepted the gift on behalf of the female guests attending the event.

Yu was even asked to give his wife a hug and a kiss. The audience laughed when Yu awkwardly kissed his wife on the cheek.

"I'm getting a little bit rusty," he said.

Meanwhile, female DPP law-makers Chiu Zang (邱彰) and Wang Shu-huei (王淑慧) yesterday criticized state-run enterprises for discriminating against their women employees and blocking their promotion.

"Although I'm thrilled that the Gender Equality Labor Law has finally gone into effect today, I'm worried that it might not help women, but actually do some damage," Chiu said.

Chiu used the example of the Sexual Abuse Prevention Act (性侵害防治法), the implementation of which, she said, did not help decrease sexual abuse.

"I'm afraid that the same situation may happen to the gender equality law," Chiu said.

According to Chiu, the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (漢翔航空), the Taiwan Power Company (台灣電力公司) and the Taiwan Water Supply Corporation (台灣省自來水公司) were the top state-run enterprises in terms of discriminating against their female employees, as evidenced by the low number of high-ranking female managers.

Chiu said that at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, 3 percent of managers are women, at Taiwan Power it is 4 percent and at the Water Supply Corp it is 6 percent.

"I don't want to hear about the nonsense that women are terrible with aerostatics or electrotechnology," Chiu said. "I don't think that an engineer or mechanic necessarily makes a good manager."

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