Ma fails to meet goals on women’s welfare: legislator

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 2

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) yesterday said that half-way through his term, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had accomplished less than half of his campaign promises on women’s welfare.

“If we look at Ma’s list of promises on enhancing women’s welfare during the presidential campaign, we can see that only about a quarter of the promises have been fulfilled, while another 25 percent are in progress. The rest are either far from being accomplished or have already been rejected by agencies,” Huang told a press conference at the legislature yesterday.

Promises fulfilled included ­relaxing employment regulations for immigrant spouses, helping local women’s organizations participate in international affairs and allocating an annual budget of NT$1 billion (US$31.4 million) to assist women in setting up their own businesses, Huang said.

Proposed policies in progress include two bills regulating household chores and a plan to improve leisure and sports facilities for women, Huang said.

Ma’s promise to enforce harsher penalties on criminals committing major crimes against women and children was rejected by the Ministry of Justice, while a NT$5,000 babysitting pension for unemployed parents was turned down by the Ministry of the ­Interior. There was progress on a birth risk management project, the legislator said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet under the leadership of Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), which counts just eight female ministers out of 38, failed to fulfill Ma’s promise to appoint women to at least a quarter of all Cabinet positions, while the government has also failed to create at least 100,000 jobs for women — also one of Ma’s promises — Huang said.

Taiwan Women’s Link ­secretary-general Tsai Wan-fen (蔡宛芬) told reporters the government had not only failed to create jobs for women, but “the number of new job openings actually dropped last year compared with previous years.”

Tsai said 111,000 more women joined the workforce in 2006 and 125,000 in 2007, but the figured dropped to 75,000 in 2008 and to 1,000 last year during the economic downturn.

“Planning for the Department of Health’s birth risk management project was begun when the DPP was in power. I don’t understand why there has been no progress whatsoever since the Ma government took over in 2008,” Tsai said.

Taipei Association for the Promotion of Women’s Rights chairwoman Wu Yi-chen (吳怡臻) said she was disappointed with the government’s performance on improving women’s welfare, adding that she hoped Ma would get things rolling during the remainder of his term.