Sun, Dec 01, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Women's groups call for respect, greater equality

DISCRIMINATION The Awakening Foundation drew attention to the problems faced by women and called on female councilors to do their part to promote equality

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Representatives of foreign brides, lesbians, prostitutes and female Aborigines called for tolerance and equality yesterday at an event staged by the Awakening Foun-dation on how to transform Taipei into an international city free of discrimination.

"These minority groups have long been marginalized. Now, with 25 percent of city council candidates being female, we hope that they can help reduce discrimination and promote equality for them," said Hsieh Yuan (謝園) of the Awakening Foundation.

Foreign brides at the event asked for respect.

"We foreign brides are also humans. Please do not treat us as commodities," said Vu Thi Juyet Huong, a Vietnamese bride.

The Awakening Foundation invited representatives of the four groups to discuss their plights yesterday in memory of the murder six years ago to the day of Peng Wan-ru (彭婠如).

Peng, a Taipei-based DPP activist for women's rights, was raped and killed during a visit to Kaohsiung. Her murderer remains at large.

"The female city councilors always do their best to help female minority groups' rights whenever they receive requests for assistance," said Chin Li-fang (秦儷舫), a sitting New Party councilor now running as an independent.

"We hope local people can stop their cultural and racial discrimination against us," Vu said.

"Foreign brides badly need long-term language courses to learn Mandarin. Only when we are able to speak the language can we obtain the basic skills to work in the country," Vu added.

She said she hoped the city government would provide translators for foreign brides.

Vu also called on employers to pay foreign brides the same amount as their Taiwanese counterparts.

Chen Ya-yun (陳雅筠), secretary-general of the Taiwan Homosexual Hotline Association, said she hopes more candidates supporting homosexual rights will be elected to council.

"Our association has been very close to other minority groups. We hope city councilors can transform Taipei into a city without discrimination," Chen said.

Aboriginals at the event said they shouldn't be made to feel bad about their culture and history.

"We are the heart of Taiwan. We have our own culture. We do not need to be ashamed of ourselves. We need to live in comfort," said Aboriginal representative See Jiq-truku (邱春珠).

Event participants called on police to do their part in ending discrimination.

"Before acceptable regulations are made about prostitution, the police should treat prostitutes more fairly," Chou Jia-jun (周佳君) said.

Meanwhile, Chairwoman of the Awakening Foundation Hsieh Yuan (謝園) said, "The number of female politicians in a country is also a significant indicator of the country's respect for women's rights."

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