Tue, Mar 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Annette Lu confirms female premier a possibility

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday at a discussion about women's role in politics and society that a female premier is a possibility.

Lu was speaking with media figures and social activists in an event held by the Ministry of the Interior at New York New York Shopping Center on International Women's Day.

"I think President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) remark about having a female premier is more of a political wish than a political promise, to break the myth that a premier has to be a man," Lu said.

Lu said that if Chen is re-elected, she would advise him to base appointments for senior government positions on experience and character, rather than gender.

"If we are re-elected, I will help Chen to recruit promising candidates. However, I will advise Chen not to choose females for the sake of doing so, but to choose for experience's sake," Lu said.

She reflected on her long and bumpy road to the Presidential Office, in which she had learned to fight against male chauvinism.

"My first two years in the Presidential Office broke the chauvinistic stereotype. When we were elected in 2000, a former national assembly representative once said that the role of a vice-president is to be the wife of the president," Lu said.

She added that her role is to make up for jobs the president cannot fulfill.

"Throughout history, people only heard women's cries and not their commands. I believe in fulfilling your duty in order to earn respect, and that is what I have been practising -- to fill in the gap for the president," she said.

Lu said a woman's perspective can be used to understand the cross-strait situation.

"From a woman's perspective, China's military ideology can be deemed as chauvinism. Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams yesterday told me how touched and proud she was of Taiwanese people for what they believe in," she said.

Lu said the President's Human Rights Committee, over which she presides, will continue to fight for the rights of different groups.

"I will continue to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage as well as gender equality. Human rights is one area that we take very seriously at the Presidential Office," she said.

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