Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday vowed to create a care system for the elderly and for children, to relieve the burden on women, who are often the primary caregivers in the family.
“Caregiving for elders and children has been an important issue in society for a long time,” Tsai said at a documentary screening event hosted by the Peng Wan-ru Foundation, named after the slain director of the DPP Department of Women’s Development.
“According to a DPP opinion poll, long-term care for elders and children is one of the top-three issues that people would like the government to address,” she said.
She went on to say that it is an especially urgent issue for women, since the burden of caregiving is often shouldered by female members in the family, “and many of them have to quit their jobs for it.”
It is an ineffective allocation of human resources, she said, as most women are good workers.
“It is therefore the responsibility of the government to support caregiving in the family, ease the burden for the people, help to improve women’s participation in the labor market and to increase family incomes,” Tsai said, adding that she would begin discussing care policies with experts and would start experimenting with policy proposals in cities or counties governed by the DPP.
Asked about the harsh criticism from by long-time Taiwan independence leader Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) about her policy declaration to maintain the cross-strait “status quo,” which compared her to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Tsai said she would find a chance to discuss it with Koo in person.
“What he [Koo] said was a little abstract. I will find a chance to speak to him about it,” Tsai said.
In a separate setting, Tsai met with a delegation of Japanese parliamentarians headed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s brother, Kishi Nobuo.
Tsai said that the two sides promised to enhance exchanges, while the Japanese delegation expressed their concerns over Taiwan’s strict regulations on foods imported from Japan.