Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Women’s Day: Taipei Women’s March gets boost from MeToo

RAISING AWARENESS:Even though Taiwan has a female president, participants marched to educate Taiwanese about many societal problems linked to a lack of gender equality

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Participants at the 2018 Women’s March hold signs yesterday reading “No means no” at Liberty Square in Taipei.

Photo: Courtesy of Kuan Tung-yan

More than 100 people joined the Women’s March in Taipei yesterday to call for gender equality and commemorate International Women’s Day.

“We aim to raise awareness that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability status,” Women’s March Taiwan founder and event co-organizer Crystal Liu (劉小妤) said in Liberty Square before the start of the march.

The theme this year was “recognizing invisible discrimination and marching for equality” because gender inequality remains prevalent today, she said.

The march began at about 5pm at Liberty Square and finished at the Red Room International Village.

The event was the second annual Women’s March held in Taiwan.

Compared with last year, this year’s march saw more Taiwanese civil groups participating, said Liu, adding that they hoped to make the event an annual tradition.

Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation chief executive officer Fan Ching (范情), who took part in the event, said that despite legal protections for women in Taiwan, a sexist culture still exists.

“Taiwan has a female president and might have better legal protections for women than some parts of the world, but that does not mean that gender discrimination no longer exists in our culture or in people’s minds. We are still fighting many deep-rooted, sexist traditions,” she said.

Many of the problems that the foundation has been working to eliminate, including domestic violence, child prostitution and human trafficking, are closely related to gender inequality, she said.

Although the Council of Grand Justices ruled last year that same-sex marriage should be legalized, many people are still unwilling to understand the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, said Chen Chih-ming (陳志明), executive director of the New Power Party’s New Taipei City Chapter.

“This shows that there is still work to be done to improve gender equality,” Chen said.

“Taiwan is a diverse democracy and we must educate every member of society to treat those different from themselves with the right attitude,” said Lee Pei-fang (李佩芳), a University of Taipei student.

“This means that our schools need to be more accepting of people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, whether man or woman, gay or straight,” she added.

The march is especially meaningful because its organizers are young women who are new to the gender equality movement, Social Democratic Party National Committee member Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) said.

They are inspired by the MeToo movement, come from backgrounds different than most of the veteran feminist activists and are bringing new momentum into Taiwan’s gender equality movement, she said.

The march concluded with an opening party for the Celebrating Women Art Show at the Red Room International Village, where works by women artists are exhibited.

The exhibition is open from 1pm to 6pm through Sunday.

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