Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

The DPP wants to have more women in the government

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday proposed a policy white paper for women's development with the aim to boost women's political participation to 40 percent of the government's composition.

Based on the women-policy white paper used in the 2000 presidential election, the party expanded the scope of women's development in political participation, labor and economic opportunities, welfare promotion, education, medical aid and women's personal safety.

Chairwoman of the DPP's Women's Development Department Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) yesterday said the party has proposed to set up a designated Cabinet-level council on gender equality development.

The organization of the new council will bolster and expand the functions of the Cabinet-level Commission on Women's Rights Promotion, a cross-departmental agency integrating all the executive efforts relating to women's rights.

Yeh said over the past four years, the party has completed several of its campaign promises on women's development. These included the "333 family welfare program," which made health insurance free for children under three, gave people over the age of 65 monthly subsidies of NT$3,000 and lowered the interest rates for first-time home-owners to 3 percent.

In addition to this program, the DPP administration has also been working on the "555 family care program" which would provide day care to babies, pre-school children and the elderly to relieve women's family care burdens.

Yeh said compared to the former Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) administration, the party has fulfilled many women's development policies within two to three years after taking office.

"Unlike under the KMT, these policies were never just being talked about across a table. They were carried out," Yeh said.

Apart from drafting the policies to boost women's political participation, the DPP also aims at passing the law on gender equality education -- currently awaiting review in the legislature -- and reinforcing women's working rights in the Equal Protection Employment Act (兩性工作平等法) and Employment Service Law (就業服務法).

The party also proposed its youth development schemes, among which reducing the voting age from 20 to 18 is the focus.

DPP Policy Research and Coordinating Committee Deputy Director Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) yesterday said the party has started promoting the younger voting age in 1992 and has since then pushed for constitutional revision to change the policy.

A long-term campaign platform of the DPP, the proposal of a voting age of 18, however, has been met with opposition from the KMT since 1996. The opposition boycotted the DPP's constitutional revision proposal in 1999, Liang said.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has proposed to change the voting age through constitutional reconstruction expected to be completed in 2006.

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