President Tsai thanks women working on epidemic prevention frontline

President Tsai Ing-wen, CNA file photo
President Tsai Ing-wen, CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) gave thanks to the women involved in epidemic prevention efforts on Sunday, International Women’s Day, extending her deepest gratitude and respect to these “heroes.”

In a Facebook post, Tsai said she has recently met many women on the frontline of epidemic prevention, including researchers, pharmacists, soldiers, nurses and entrepreneurs.

She also saw in the news the story of Chang Wan-erh (張莞爾), the nurse who was dispatched to China to help a Taiwanese child with hemophilia and his mother return home, as well as that of Yang Taiyin (楊台瑩), a Taiwanese researcher who led the Gilead Sciences team that developed the antiviral drug remdesivir, Tsai wrote in the post.

“There are also an additional tens of thousands of hardworking and responsible women doing work in epidemic prevention,” Tsai said, “They are doctors, civil servants, flight attendants, teachers, drivers and police officers, all guarding our health in their different posts.”

Tsai said she is honored to have met so many outstanding women, and wanted to extend her deepest gratitude and respect to these “epidemic prevention heroes”.

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) gave thanks to women in all walks of life in Taiwan through a statement issued by the Executive Yuan.

In the statement, Su pointed out that due to traditional mindsets, women often take on most of the responsibility of caring for family members, even though such work should be shouldered by everyone.

Ongoing epidemic prevention measures have also likely caused increased work for women, as they may need to take care of those in home quarantine, Su said, adding that he was grateful for the work women are doing in this regard.

Su also gave thanks to women who work in the medical field, as they are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.

The government is coordinating with manufacturers to increase the production of protective gear as well as discussing subsidies for medical personnel, Su said.

Su said he envisages the Executive Yuan and its subsidiaries continuing its work to ensure that people of different genders are equal in all areas of society, so Taiwan can achieve true gender equality.

The statement also included data from the Executive Yuan’s Gender Equality Committee (GEC), which highlights improvements in Taiwan’s gender equality.

Of the latest batch of legislators elected to office on Jan. 11, 47 out of 113, or 41.59 percent, were women, the GEC said.

That means Taiwan has the highest proportion of female legislators of any parliament in Asia, and the 16th-highest worldwide, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the GEC said.

The number of women in decision-making roles in the government, schools and private companies has also steadily increased in recent years, with women accounting for nearly 43 percent of such roles overall, the GEC said.

The gender wage gap has narrowed as well; over the past decade, the average hourly wage gap in the country has fallen from 17.9 percent in 2009 to 14.2 percent in 2019, according to GEC data.