Thank you, Session Chair Jayanthi Balaguru, for your introduction. I am so delighted that we are joined by a very large number of distinguished women leaders and successful women from the region and from member countries of CALD (Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats). Particularly, we do have our former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) here joining us, and I see that the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) former Chair Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) is here as well. I would like to say to those who travelled from abroad, "Welcome to Taiwan," and to everybody, "Good morning."
We are actually very happy to be hosting the CALD Women's Caucus Conference for the first time. The Democratic Progressive Party is honored to collaborate with CALD to showcase women's contributions to Taiwan's democratization.
Since Taiwan lifted martial law 30 years ago, the collective efforts of Taiwanese people have helped ensure women's rights, and increase their political participation.
Taiwan's journey towards women's empowerment shows that promoting gender equality reinforces democratic and progressive values.
As such, we want to thank the speakers from Taiwan today, particularly Ms. Annette Lu, our former Vice President. With your unshakable commitment to the promotion of equal rights for women, you are an indispensable driving force for Taiwan's democratization. Yes, please give her a round of applause.
To fully realize gender equality in our society, we must break the grip of traditional norms, and give every woman the right to choose her role in society, and a chance to pursue her aspirations.
Over the past year, we have been taking steadfast steps to achieve this goal.
To begin with, our Legislature has passed amendments requiring companies with over 100 employees to provide childcare and nursing facilities.
To be a gender-friendly society, we have also taken steps to establish better long-term care systems that will reduce caregiving burdens on women. We also want to help women who are starting their own businesses by relaxing restrictions on entrepreneurship loans.
Finally, the Legislative Yuan's Gender Equality Committee is also taking action to ensure that the idea of gender equality will inform all of our policies.
Taiwan is not alone on this journey to women's empowerment. As one of the CALD founding members, we are most fortunate to have the continued support from all members empowering us along the way.
And we will continue to utilize the CALD platform to strengthen our collaboration.
In addition, I am delighted to share with you that during last year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Taiwan and the U.S. announced the establishment of the APEC Women and the Economy Sub-Fund.
Indeed, we have a long journey ahead of us to gender equality and women's empowerment. This is why it is encouraging to be here with you all, as it is the commitment and devotion to these issues that brought all of us here today.
I am certain that your insight will shed new light on the future direction of Taiwan's journey to empowering women. And I hope you have a lovely time in Taiwan.