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Employment of Women in Chinese Cultures

Half the Sky

Edited by Cherlyn Skromme Granrose

Examining the employment lives of Chinese women living under different government systems at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the contributors to this volume present an overview of factors affecting the employment status of women. The volume includes chapters on the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – nations that have common Chinese cultural experiences but very different economic systems and government structures.
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Chapter 4: Women in Taiwan: Social Status, Education and Employment

T.K. Peng and Tsai-Wei Wang


T.K. Peng and Tsai-Wei Wang On 20 May 2000, a new administration was inaugurated in Taiwan after a close presidential campaign. One unusually impressive fact about the new government was its personnel composition: 14 Cabinet members were female, more than a quarter of the total. They were sworn into such highprofile positions as Vice-President, Minister of Interior Affairs as well as Minister of Transportation and Communications and Chairperson of Labor Affairs. Observers of feminism hailed it as a milestone for women in Taiwanese history. Women in Taiwan have come a long way to be what they are and to do what they do. Historically and culturally their ancestresses suffered far more structural gender inequality. Concepts such as ‘A woman without capability is virtuous’ and ‘Education is unnecessary for women’ were pervasive in Mainland China by 1600 (late Ming Dynasty) and were transferred to Taiwan during repeated migrations to the island. Canadian missionary George L. Mackay founded the first girls’ school in Taiwan in 1884 (the Ching Dynasty). In 2000 the first female vice-president of Taiwan took office. Today women’s status is obviously on the rise but there is still a long way to go before the society can be considered gender equal. This chapter presents a broad picture of the employment patterns, educational and vocational opportunities and work–family concerns of the women in Taiwan. These dimensions are central to understanding women’s social status and the utilization of their potential. While studies of gender issues...

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