Taiwan boasts the highest gender development index (GDI) among all Asian countries and also performs well in terms of its gender empowerment measure (GEM), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.
Because of this, Lu said, the Democratic Pacific Union -- a non-governmental organization which was formally inaugurated by Lu last August -- has decided to promote the establishment of a Pan-Pacific University Union and a Pacific Elite Women Union to ensure that women's voices in the region are heard.
Lu made her comments about the nation's GDI and GEM in a speech delivered at the annual meeting of the Zonta International ROC Club in Taipei yesterday.
Lu said the "better half" of the world's population of 6.5 billion has become much more active in terms of political participation over the past six months. So far, she said, 13 nations, including Germany, Chile, Liberia and South Korea, have had female presidents, chancellors or prime ministers.
Nine nations, including Taiwan, Switzerland and South Africa, have female vice presidents. Another nine, including France, Norway and Sweden, have female ministers of national defense, Lu said.
In terms of GEM, she said, Norway ranks first in the world, followed by Denmark, while Taiwan ranks high on the list in 19th position, well ahead of Japan's ranking of 44th.
With a high GDI, Lu said, the nation's career women have also been significant contributors to the nation's GDP. Lu said women contributed 74 percent of the amount generated by men last year. This contribution was the second highest in Asia, behind only that of women in Hong Kong, she added.
There are eight female Cabinet members in Taiwan, and 47 female legislators. At the local government level, Lu said, women command one mayoral post, one county chief post, 25 township or rural township chief posts, more than 200 city or county council seats, and over 300 elected representative seats.
Lu once again reiterated her ambition that in the remaining two years of her term as vice president, she would see to it that some 100,000 "good housekeepers" would be trained and made available for at least 300,000 families in the country. This would be a win-win solution as the program would help families in need of maids or caregivers on the one hand, and help unemployed women or women from financially underprivileged families secure jobs, Lu said.