Women’s rights groups call for election of a female speaker or deputy speaker

By Nine Hsieh ,Special to The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A number of women’s rights groups have expressed expectations of seeing a female legislative speaker or deputy speaker elected by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, 民進黨) in a bid to promote gender equality.

With Taiwan electing its first female president this year, the proportion of elected female legislators has also set new records, rising from 33 percent elected at the last legislative election to 38.1 percent at the 2016 legislative elections, one of the highest proportions of females in politics in the world, the Chinese-language United Evening News stated. According to the statement released by the women’s rights groups, two criteria regarding gender equality should followed when the DPP conducts the election of legislative speaker and deputy speakers.

First, ensuring a female is elected either legislative speaker or deputy speaker should be a priority in order to “show respect to women voters” and also based on the fact that nearly 40 percent of the DPP-majority Legislature are female. Second, the selection of the two candidates should be based on past interpellation performances. Nominees for speaker and deputy speaker must present their views on gender equality. Other conditions include positive support or concrete contributions on gender equality policies — advocating of home care policies, publicizing of previous equality efforts and showing an understanding of women’s heavy burdens as family caretakers.

It is necessary for party caucus legislators to consider the standards for the two candidates, namely by the Legislative Yuan’s leader voting for gender equality in the speaker and deputy speaker elections. Such a gender-initiative nomination would set gender equality into motion and prioritize the caucus parties to put forward nominees while considering equal representation of gender, stated the women’s rights groups. Based on the statement, the Kuomintang (國民黨) have a better track record than the DPP, as Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) were a gender-equal duo. The statement was released by the Awakening Foundation (AF, 婦女新知基金會) and is also supported by the Taiwanese Feminist Scholars Association (女性學學會), the National Alliance of Taiwan Women’s Associations (台灣婦女團體全國聯合會), the Taipei Awakening Association (台北市婦女新知協會), the Kaohsiung Women Awakening Association (高雄市婦女新知協會), the Garden of Hope Foundation (勵馨社會福利事業基金會), and the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (婦女救援基金會).