The Hakka Affairs Council is promoting gender discrimination with its Hakka-language learning materials, Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said yesterday.
“We are living in a time where gender equality is protected by the Constitution and has become a mainstream value in society, therefore I am quite confused and upset to see Hakka-language learning materials published by the council still containing phrases that obviously discriminate against gender,” Wu told council Minister Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) during a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee.
“For example, when speaking of men, we see phrases like ‘his father was a minister in the past, and has been retired for many years’ listed as an example for the word ‘minister,’” Wu said, reading out loud phrases from a Hakka-learning book. “But, for the word ‘tofu,’ the example written is ‘Mrs A-chiang has been selling tofu for decades and is called ‘Auntie Tofu’ by her neighbors.’”
Wu went on to read several other phrases in which men are given more socially prestigious titles or positions, while women are associated with lower-ranked jobs.
Wu said that the nation’s GDP reached US$130,000 as of last year, “but in the Hakka-learning material, it’s still US$23,000.”
“The Hakka Affairs Council asks for a budget every year to update these materials, but you are not doing a good job of updating it,” Wu added.
Last month the same educational materials also triggered controversy when former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫) discovered — amid debates on a no-confidence vote against Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) — that the example cited for the phrase “vote of no-confidence” is “to ensure political stability, we should not call for a ‘no-confidence’ vote.”
Huang promised that the council would review the materials and make changes, especially those that concern gender equality.
Lawmakers across party lines asked the council to turn down a Greater Taichung Government plan to build a tulou (土樓) to represent the Hakka population in the city.
Tulou are circular or square fortress-like residential buildings built by people, mainly Hakka, in the mountainous regions in China’s Fujian Province to protect residents against attacks by bandits. However, such buildings do not exist in Taiwan.
Huang said the council would turn down the city government’s budget request if it proceeds with its plan to build tulou.