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  • President Ma attends Centennial Celebration of International Women's Day
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President Ma attends Centennial Celebration of International Women's Day President Ma Ying-jeou attends Centennial Celebration of International Women's Day. President Ma attends Centennial Celebration of International Women's Day on March 8.
President Ma Ying-jeou on the afternoon of March 8 attended the Centennial Celebration of International Women's Day, an event organized by the National Women's League of the R.O.C. In remarks delivered there, he spoke about the women's policy initiatives pursued by the government in recent years, and pointed to successes that have been achieved.

The president commented that this year marks the centenary of both the Republic of China and International Women's Day. It has been a century of much adversity both for the ROC and for women, but steady progress has been made, and the ideals of those who founded the ROC and the women's movement are gradually being achieved.

President Ma noted that when the National Women's League was first founded more than 60 years ago, it made an important contribution to the nation by producing military uniforms and caring for the families of service members. The organization has switched focus in recent years, and is now becoming more involved in community service, education, and other charity work. At the same time, it also plays an important role in people-to-people diplomacy for the ROC.

President Ma stressed that the government has always attached great importance to women's issues, and the principle of gender equality is enshrined in Article 7 of the ROC Constitution of 1946. Nevertheless, the roots of male privilege run deep in East Asian society. Regardless of what the Constitution and various laws may require, reality often runs counter to the ideal. This is what prompted the government, after moving to Taiwan in 1949, to adopt a series of measures aimed at improving the status of women by, for example, instituting universal education, abolishing the so-called "foster daughter system," and vigorously enforcing monogamy

President Ma pointed out that he took part 20 years ago in the drafting of the Additional Articles of the ROC Constitution, and Additional Article 10, paragraph 6 provides as follows: "The State shall protect the dignity of women, safeguard their personal safety, eliminate sexual discrimination, and further substantive gender equality." This provision covers the four important goals of "dignity," "safety," "equality," and "development," all of which the government is working hard to achieve. In the UN's Gender-related Development Index (GDI) and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), the president noted that in one recent year the Republic of China ranked globally at 20th and 22nd respectively, while in Asia the country ranked 2nd by both measures. Also, Taiwan ranked 4th globally and 1st in Asia in the UNDP’s 2010 report on Gender Inequality Index (GII) (based on 2008 data), an indication that the government has achieved considerable success in its efforts to promote gender equality. The president stated that although the government is working to build a gender-equal environment, the fact that men and women still do not receive equal pay for equal work shows that we cannot be complacent, for there is still room for improvement.

President Ma further pointed out that the Executive Yuan in a recent Cabinet meeting approved a draft bill to incorporate into domestic law the provisions of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The bill is currently under deliberation in the Legislative Yuan, and the president expressed his hope for quick passage so that Taiwan can move forward with the rest of the world to safeguard women's equality and oppose discrimination against them. This must be done to carry through with the spirit of the Constitution, and to make the Republic of China a truly civilized nation.
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