Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Women's groups eye appointments


Women's groups yesterday urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to stay true to its promise of appointing women to one-quarter of high-ranking posts in the Cabinet.

"When President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) entered office in 2000, he made the undertaking that one-quarter of high-ranking Cabinet officials would be women, and he delivered on his promise. But with the new Cabinet, it seems that only seven women have been appointed, and those who are not being retained are being succeeded by men," Awakening Foundation president Huang Chang-ling (黃長玲) said.

Huang said there was an international trend toward the sexes having equal weight in a government. This was a measure of democratic progress, she said.

According to the foundation's figures, female officials occupied only 19.4 percent of Cabinet-level positions. Only one female minister without portfolio has been appointed out of the seven posts available.

"Turnover among government-appointed officials is nothing unusual. However, we do hope that female officials who are not retained will be recognized for their accomplishments in office," said Chen I-lin (陳逸玲), the secretary-general of the Taipei Association for the Promotion of Women's Rights.

Chiang Yue-chin (蔣月琴), the secretary-general of the National Union of Taiwan Women Association, said that female Cabinet officials such as National Youth Commission Chairwoman Lin Fang-mei (林芳玫), Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Council for Cultural Affairs Chairwoman Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀) and Vice Minister of Education Fan Sun-lu (范巽綠) had performed outstandingly, but that their political futures had become unclear in the wake of the reshuffle.

"Although they did a good job in office, they were not treated with a lot of respect in the way they were replaced, nor were they offered substantial positions elsewhere," Chiang said.

Chang Chin-fen (張晉芬), president of the Female Studies Association, said it was imperative that the DPP focus more on the training and cultivation of outstanding female politicians.

"Such training demands that female politicians have the opportunity to serve on the Cabinet. However, the reshuffle seems to be rewarding those who campaigned hard for [Cabinet appointments] during the presidential election," she said.

"If the DPP government continues to use a `lack of qualified female officials' as an excuse, then it should face the music for not having provided sufficient job training," Chang said.

Huang said that while it was important to appoint qualified officials to any government post, an increase in the quantity of female officials in a government also had an important role to play in advancing women's interests.

"Of course quality is important. But having more female government officials, especially high-ranking ones such as ministry heads, will allow people to become more accustomed to the idea of having strong female figures in government," she said.

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