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  • President Ma attends evening gala marking 62nd Anniversary Celebration of National Women's League of ROC
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President Ma attends 62nd Anniversary Celebration of National Women's League. President Ma Ying-jeou attends 62nd Anniversary Celebration of National Women's League. President Ying-jeou Ma attends 62nd Anniversary Celebration of National Women's League.
President Ma Ying-jeou on the evening of April 19 attended the 62nd Anniversary Celebration of the National Women's League of the ROC. The president applauded the longstanding work carried out and contributions made by the league in promoting women's rights and assisting in public diplomacy. President Ma reiterated the government's commitment to creating a nation with even greater fairness and wellbeing.

President Ma congratulated the National Women's League for its contributions to society over the past 62 years, noting that after spending its early years sewing uniforms for the military and caring for the families of military personnel, the league subsequently expanded its role by branching out into charitable and social welfare work, promotion of gender equality, and participation in international exchanges. In particular, the league has played an invaluable role in promoting women's rights and assisting in public diplomacy. The president pointed out that the league's initiatives can be traced back to its founder Madame Soong Mei-ling (蔣宋美齡) and have continued through the current Chairwoman Cecilia Y. Koo (辜嚴倬雲).

President Ma quoted Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who once said, "if you give a woman a dollar, 90 per cent of it will go on her family, her business, anything but herself, while the figure for men is 30 or 40 per cent." This, the president said, highlights the concern that women have for the community in general. In addition, President Ma also said that when the Nobel Prize Committee awarded its Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, the committee remarked that unless the status of women, which account for half of the world's population, is brought to the level of men, economic growth and democratic political systems will never reach their full potential. This, the president said, also points to the important position of women in society.

President Ma emphasized that work to promote gender equality has been carried out in the ROC for several decades and that the efforts have yielded considerable success. For instance, the president noted, the 2011 Gender Inequality Index, which is compiled by the United Nations, showed the ROC as the fourth most equal country in the world, and it was ranked the highest in Asia. In addition, among the 34 nations on the Pacific rim, the ROC was the only nation to implement a formal system of unpaid parental leave, which he said ensures that children under three years of age will receive appropriate care and guarantees that a parent can receive 60% of his or her original salary while on leave.

The president stated that the problem of unequal pay for equal work still exists in Taiwan, but that this situation has improved considerably. Females now receive 81% of the salaries that their male counterparts earn for the same work, he said, adding that March 5 was designated this year as Equal Pay Day to highlight the fact that women need to work 65 more days to earn the same amount that men make. Nevertheless, the situation continues to improve in Taiwan, with pay discrepancies approaching levels seen in France and Switzerland.

President Ma stressed that last month when he met with 14 females who recently immigrated to Taiwan from Vietnam, Indonesia, and mainland China in order to understand how they have fared here since arriving, he learned that some of the women have earned Ph.D. degrees or are hosting on-air programs here, while others are involved in charitable work in the community to assist other new female immigrants to meld into Taiwan society. The president said this shows that as long as people work hard, they can do well. The president then pointed to the examples of Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊) and Tzu Chi Dharma Master Cheng Yen (證嚴), both of whom were honored by Time magazine for their generosity and charitable efforts, along with Yani Tseng (曾雅妮), the outstanding women's professional golfer from Taiwan. All of these individuals are examples of the excellence of Taiwan's women, he said, adding that in the future the government will continue working to create a nation that features even more equality and wellbeing.

Among those attending the event were Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Mrs. Lien, Honorary KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Mrs. Wu, National Women's League Chairwoman Cecilia Y. Koo, Vice President-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Mrs. Wu, Premier Sean C. Chen (陳冲), Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), and Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).
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