Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Women still face discrimination

OBSTACLES Salary adjustments and opportunities for promotion are two major areas where women suffer discrimination, a Council of Labor Affairs survey showed

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although the female labor force participation rate has risen in recent years, about one out of four working women still encounter sexual discrimination in the workplace, Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) statistics showed yesterday.

Since 2002, the nation’s labor force participation rate for women has steadily risen from 46.59 percent in 2002 to 49.62 percent last year, bringing it to about the same level as Japan (48.5 percent) and South Korea (49.2 percent), said Cheng Wen-yuan (鄭文淵), director of the council’s Statistics Department.

On the other hand, the labor force participation rate for men declined from 68.22 percent in 2002 to an all-time low of 66.40 percent last year.

The council said this phenomenon could be attributed partly to the mass layoffs triggered by the global recession, as well as the rise of the double-income family, which somewhat lessened the pressure on men as the family’s sole breadwinner.

The income gap between men and women has also been shrinking. In 2000, the income gap was 24.4 percent, but this dropped to 17.8 percent last year. Compared with other countries, 2008 data showed that working women in Taiwan earned on average 81.7 percent as much as men, which is slightly higher than that of the US (79.9 percent) and Japan (67.8 percent).

The council also said that in a survey of more than 3,000 working women, about 70 percent said they believed the implementation of the Act for Gender Equality in Employment (性別工作平等法) was helpful in minimizing obstacles that exist for women in the workplace.

Although female workers found that sexual discrimination in the workplace has been declining, about 27 percent still feel discriminated against. A majority said the “range of salary adjustment” and “opportunities for promotion” were the main areas in which sexual discrimination existed. The council also released the latest data on businesses implementing female-related personal leave. Last year, 44.8 ­percent of businesses allowed leave for monthly periods, 54.7 percent gave miscarriage leave and 57.3 percent offered parental leave.

In related news, CLA Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) yesterday defended the council’s plans to implement one-year maternity leave, saying it would not cost as much as most people expect.

On Saturday, Wang said at an event marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day that female workers could start taking unpaid pregnancy leave for a maximum of one year by June.

Faced with criticism from some business groups, Wang said that since not all women would physically need to take nine months of pregnancy leave to avoid a miscarriage, the cost to businesses of implementing pregnancy leave would not be exorbitant.

The council supports the plan not only to boost the country’s low birth rate, but also to reduce obstacles facing women in the workplace, she said.

Also See: Women’s bill triggers uproar in India

This story has been viewed 4809 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top