According to an estimate by the Council for Economic Planning and Development, females will comprise a majority of the population here by 2014, so women are playing an increasingly important role in Taiwan. Consequently, women’s rights will continue to be a focal point of our national policy. Nonetheless, historical and cultural factors have long created barriers, preventing females from engaging in specific types of work. In addition, certain policies have unconsciously been designed from the perspective of a single gender and have inadequately taken into consideration the needs of females. This has limited the range of opportunities open to women, and impeded social advancement and innovation.
Today, the level of gender equality has become an important indicator in judging the progress of individual nations. Taiwan had the second-highest Gender Development Index (GDI) in the world in 2008 and the 24th-highest Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM)–the second-highest in Asia in each instance. Both of these are indicators of the status of women within society. The life expectancy of women in Taiwan has risen to 82.01 years in 2008 from 78.93 years in 1998. Meanwhile, more women are in school than men, demonstrating that the status of women in Taiwan has advanced considerably. At the same time, females and males share in the fruits of social development, such as education, health, and economic wellbeing.
Ensuring the safety of women, respecting diversity, realizing gender equality, and building shared governance are the ultimate objectives of the government’s women’s policies. With this in mind, the government will include gender mainstreaming concepts in laws and policies to achieve the ideal of governance by both genders.