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Executive Yuan’s Committee of Women’s Rights Promotion Passes “Gender Equality Policy Outline” As Blueprint for Future Gender Equality Policy

The Committee of Women’s Rights Promotion, the Executive Yuan, convened its 36th meeting on Sep 7 during which Premier Wu Den-yih said he would like to draw from all committee members valuable opinions about the work related to women’s rights based on their expertise and practical experiences, and he praised the continuous progress Taiwan has made in promoting gender mainstreaming under the advocacy and assistance of the Committee of Women’s Rights and inter-ministerial efforts and cooperation. In order to continue enhancing women’s rights in Taiwan, the premier gave the following instructions:

1)The Executive Yuan will set up the Department of Gender Equality next year to deal with the coordination and promotion of gender equality policy, and actively organize the planning on staff, budget and office space.

2)The passage of “Enforcement Regulations for Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)” is not only an important milestone in the country’s promotion of gender equality, but also brings local gender human rights into line with international standards, giving domestic gender rights equal protection and eliminating gender discrimination. To thoroughly implement the act, the premier instructed the Ministry of the Interior to actively compile booklet, make CD and edit teaching materials to advocate CEDAW according to CEDAW regulations, and asked other government departments including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Central Personnel Administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to actively help the public understand CEDAW and conduct trainings related to the review of laws and regulations in the future. The formulation, revision or repeal of relevant laws and regulations and the improvement of administrative measures have to be accomplished within three years so as to conform to CEDAW regulations; and the national report on eliminating discrimination against women in the country will be submitted once every four years according to CEDAW regulations.

3)In order to map out the future direction of the country’s gender equality policy, the Committee of Women’s Rights Promotion invited scholars, experts and women’s groups in the private sector last year to draft the “Gender Equality Policy Outline.” The central government’s relevant ministries, city and county governments and civic groups sponsored a total of 38 seminars to listen to the suggestions made by government units at all levels and the grassroots about policies related to gender equality, allowing communication between the public and private sectors regarding the future direction of the country’s gender equality policy. The “Gender Equality Policy Outline (draft)” was presented for discussion in the Women’s National Affairs Conference sponsored by the Ministry of the Interior on March 7-8, 2011, and relevant ministries were invited to study and amend the draft outline according to the conclusions reached in the aforementioned conference. The Committee of Women’s Rights Promotion passed in principle the revised “Gender Equality Policy Outline” in its 36th meeting and asked the Ministry of the Interior to amend it according to suggestions made by committee members before submitting it to the Executive Yuan for approval and publication. Premier Wu said the outline will become the blueprint for the country to promote gender equality policy. Based on the three basic concepts -- “Gender equality is the core value of protecting social justice,” “Enhancing women’s rights is the primary task of promoting gender equality,” and “Gender mainstreaming is an effective way to implement people-oriented policies,” the policy outline covers the core issues in seven chapters: “power, decision-making and influence,” “employment, economy and welfare,” “education, culture and media,” “personal safety and justice,” “health, medical treatment and care,” “population, marriage and family,” and “environment, energy and science and technology.” To enable government departments to achieve the vision of gender equality, each chapter explains the concept of women’s rights and gender equality and proposes concrete measures as the direction and goal for various ministries to promote gender equality.

In the chapter on “power, decision-making and influence,” it said the government will set up in 2012 the Department of Gender Equality under the Executive Yuan as the national administrative unit responsible for promoting women’s rights and gender equality, and the reserved-seats for women electoral system will be changed into one based on the principle of allocating seats in proportion to gender, and increase its proportion to enhance and promote women’s career advancement and participation in decision-making.

Regarding “employment, economy and welfare,” the government will provide women with more vocational trainings, increase channels of resources and service windows for financing and business creation, encourage enterprises to establish gender-friendly workplace, and implement such gender-friendly measures as corporate child care, maternity leave, paternity leave, maternity leave without pay, family care leave and flexible working hours, promoting a balance between work and family.

In the chapter on “population, marriage and family,” it said the government will pay child-rearing benefits, build a high quality, affordable, available to all environment for birth and child-rearing, establish a perfect care system to provide services needed at different stages of human life, so as to gradually implement the ideal of making provision for the aged till their death and enabling the young to grow up.

With regard to “education, culture and media,” the government will strive to reduce gender segregation in education at all levels and university departments, encourage students to develop professional skills that suit their individual characters, eliminate cultural contents of gender degradation and discrimination in such traditional rituals and customs as marriage, burial, worship and inheritance, and encourage media self-discipline to produce and broadcast programs which put great emphasis on gender equality to eliminate gender discrimination and gender stereotypes.

In the chapter on “personal safety and justice,” it said the government will create the “zero tolerance of gender violence” social awareness, enhance the gender awareness of judicial and law-enforcement authorities when handling cases in which women and children are involved, establish the victim protection mechanism and programs in the judicial and police system, improve law and order, and check public space to create a safe and secure living environment.

In the chapter on “health, medical treatment and care,” it said the government will plan long-term care legislation and various supporting measures to let caregivers and the cared enjoy a life of dignity, health and safety, and strive to create an environment which provides friendly medical care and respects women’s right to seek medical treatment according to their own decisions, so that the medical care and health system can more fully meet the health needs of different genders.

Regarding “environment, energy, and science and technology,” the government will reduce gender segregation in the fields of environment, energy and science and technology, strengthen women’s participation in capacity building and decision-making in the fields of environment, energy, science and technology, engineering, transportation, disaster prevention and relief, and reconstruction, and ensure the gender perspective is included in the government-led scientific researches, technology R&D, energy policy, carbon reduction and climate adaptation, urban space and transportation planning and design.

Finally, the government hopes that publishing the policy outline will continue opening the gender perspective of all walks of life in the society, and gradually implement gender equality for the country to stride towards a co-govern, co-enjoy, win-win sustainable society.

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