Fri, Mar 09, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Women’s rights can improve: DPP

DISPARITIES:Pan Men-an said women in Taiwan work 65 more days in a year than men on average, while earning 17.6 percent less in salary than their male counterparts

By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporters

Women perform a song-and-dance routine at the beginning of a press conference for International Women’s Day in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Women’s rights and welfare under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has significant room for improvement, opposition lawmakers said on International Women’s Day yesterday.

“The misery index of Taiwanese women has skyrocketed in the past few years as the current administration has not brought hope on almost every issue they care about,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.

Citing statistics compiled by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), Pan said Taiwanese women have to work 65 days more than men on average every year, but their average salary was 17.6 percent lower.

Women’s labor force participation rate last year was 49 percent, compared with men’s 72 percent, he said, adding that between 2,000 and 3,000 women become unemployed after marriage or have children every year.

For those who are employed, they experience harassment from men, with 375 of the 386 reported cases of sexual harassment being filed by women, Pan said, adding that it did not include those who did not file harassment suits.

Ma has failed to improve women’s well-being as president as well as keeping his campaign pledge of allocating at least a quarter of Cabinet positions to females, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said she would propose a bill to protect women’s right to participate in politics by increasing the number of female conveners in the Legislative Yuan’s subcommittees.

Her proposal is to increase the number of subcommittee conveners from two to three and any sex should not be less than one-third of the total number of conveners, which means that at least one female lawmaker would be a convener in every subcommittee.

Ma, meanwhile, touted the nation’s achievements in pushing for gender equality in various fields and promised to continue the work to promote women’s rights.

The president, speaking at an International Women’s Day event organized by the Ministry of the Interior, detailed the government’s continuous efforts in promoting women’s rights, including increasing the number of legislative seats for women and creating job opportunities for them, adding the government would work harder to reduce domestic violence and sexual harassment.

Statistics from the ministry showed that the female labor force participation rate reached 50 percent — contrary to the DGBAS’ figure that Peng cited — while the number of female legislators accounted for more than one-third of all seats.

Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) added the government would work to raise the number of female members in committees at government agencies and state-run corporations to account for at least one-third of all members.

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