Taiwan ranks first in Asia for gender equality based on data from the UN’s gender inequality index, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
Although the nation is not included in the latest Gender Inequality Index (GII) from the UN Development Programme, based on its statistics, if it was included, Taiwan would rank first in Asia for 2018, ahead of South Korea, Singapore and Japan, the ministry said.
Worldwide, it would rank ninth, falling behind top gender-equal nations such as Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the ministry said.
Measuring gender disparity in various aspects of human development, including reproductive health and empowerment, the GII also accounts for women’s economic status, which is expressed through participation in labor markets.
About 44.5 percent of Taiwan’s labor force was comprised of women in 2018, while South Korea and Japan followed with 42.7 percent and 44.2 percent respectively, statistics compiled by the ministry showed.
Women in Singapore and Hong Kong had higher participation in labor markets at 45.7 percent and 49.8 percent respectively, while the US was at 47.2 percent, the data showed.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s manufacturing sector is still dominated by men, who made up about 62.3 percent of the workforce, whereas women had a stronger presence in the wholesale and retail sectors, representing 51.3 percent, the ministry said.
In Hong Kong, manufacturing was similarly predominately comprised of men, while in Singapore and South Korea, women remained a minority across all sectors, it said.
In terms of entrepreneurship, females took the reins of about 36.8 percent of Taiwan’s small and medium-sized enterprises, compared with 21.9 percent of large enterprises led by women.
Overall, female-headed enterprises accounted for 36.4 percent of the nation’s corporate landscape, lower than the 39 percent in the US and 38.3 percent in South Korea, the data showed.
While the GII and ministry data shed new light on women’s contribution in Taiwan’s workforce, they fail to factor in women’s financial independence as well as a prevailing wage gap.
Only 68.7 percent of women consider themselves financially independent with an average monthly salary of NT$34,590 (US$1,154.54), a survey released yesterday by online job bank yes123 (yes123人力銀行) showed.
The survey also showed that about 62.2 percent of women have experienced gender discrimination while pursuing employment.
Furthermore, 65.6 percent of women have said that they experienced wage gaps throughout their careers, as they are paid NT$6,591 less on an average than their male colleagues, the job bank said.
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