Taiwan ranks No. 6 in world for gender equality: GEC

01/05/2021 06:49 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) Taiwan ranks first in Asia and sixth worldwide in terms of gender equality, according to a self-assessment published on Tuesday by the Executive Yuan's Gender Equality Committee (GEC).

The GEC said its rankings were based on the Gender Inequality Index (GII) introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2010.

The GII is a composite index that measures the inequality between female and male achievement in three areas -- reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market.

The index ranges from 0, which indicates that men and women fare equally, to 1, which indicates that women fare as poorly as possible in all measured dimensions.

Since Taiwan is not a member of the U.N. it does not appear in the official GII rankings. However, using the criteria used in the index, the GEC calculated the country's 2019 GII at 0.045, placing it sixth around the globe and first in Asia.

In the 2019 GII ratings, Switzerland finished first with a score of 0.025, followed by Denmark at 0.038 and Sweden at 0.039.

Among Asian countries, Taiwan's GII was better than South Korea's (0.064, No. 12 in the world), Singapore's (0.065, No. 13 in the world) and Japan's (0.094, No. 25 in the world), the GEC said.

According to the GEC, the labor force participation rate for women aged 15 and over in Taiwan was 51.4 percent, compared to 67.3 percent for men. Despite that gap, women's participation grew at a rate nearly double that of men over the last 10 years, the committee said.

In terms of the pay gap, women made 14.2 percent less than men in 2019 (an average of NT$291 (US$10.39) per hour, compared to NT$340 for men), constituting a 3.7 percentage point improvement on the 17.9 percent gap of 10 years ago, according to the GEC. The GEC report also highlighted the way gender stereotypes, such as the notion that men should study the sciences while women study the arts, can have long-lasting effects on gender segregation in the workplace.

For example, Taiwan's proportion of professional researchers who are women, at 22.6 percent, is higher than that of Korea or Japan, but remains significantly lower than the United Kingdom (38.6 percent) and Finland (33.7 percent), the GEC said.

Similarly, less than 25 percent of all Taiwanese workers in the construction, home improvement and transportation sectors are women, the committee said.

In the transportation sector, the Taipei mass rapid transit (MRT) system had the highest proportion of female drivers at 22.5 percent, while the Taiwan Railways Administration had the lowest, at 1.2 percent, according to the report.

On a positive note, the GEC noted that Taiwan passed a marriage equality law in May 2019, under which some 1,257 male couples and 2,830 female couples were married in the first year since its enactment.

The full report, titled the 2021 Gender At A Glance in the Republic of China (Taiwan), is available on the GEC website.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Matthew Mazzetta)


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