Table of Contents
The history of Chinese Taipei, also commonly known as Taiwan, has been dominated by its relationship to the Peoples Republic of China.Central Intelligence Agency (2011) The World Factbook: Taiwan, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tw.html, accessed 24 February 2011 The country is governed by a president and parliament chosen in multiparty elections.US Department of State (2010) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Taiwan, available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135990.htm, accessed 24 February 2011.
There is limited data on the status of women in Chinese Taipei. According to the government in 2006, women accounted for about 42% of the general work force, an increase of around 10% over the last two decades.Gao, P. (2006), Toward True Gender Equality, Taiwan Review, available at http://taiwanreview.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=1191&CtNode=128, accessed 24 February 2011. The government reports that through increasing participation in economic life, women are challenging traditional gender roles within private and public spheres. That is, there has been an increasing recognition of women as workers rather than sole carers.Reference 3 Despite this progress, there remains a gender pay gap and occupational segregation based on gender.Foundation of Women Rights Promotion and Development (2005) Images of Women in Taiwan version 2005, available at http://v1010.womenweb.org.tw/Page_Show.asp?Page_ID=256, accessed 24 February 2011. Women remain under-represented in decision-making roles too. One obstacle to gender equality in Chinese Taipei is the notion of the family as a ‘private’ institution which should not be subject to government intervention. This notion has recently been challenged however, through the passage of laws on sexual and domestic violence.Reference 3
Chinese Taipei is not ranked as part of the Human Development Index or World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index.
Discriminatory Family Code
Marriage in Chinese Taipei is governed by the Civil Code. The legal marriage age is 16 years for women and 18 years for men.Civil Code (2010) available at http://db.lawbank.com.tw/Eng/FLAW/FLAWDAT01.asp?lsid=FL001351, accessed 26 January 2012.Art.980
There is no data on early marriage in Chinese Taipei. However, the median age of people at the time of their first marriage has been rising steadily in Taiwan. In 2004, the mean age at which men married for the first time was 29.7, and for women it was 26.6. Just two decades ago, in 1983, these figures were 27.4 for males and 24 for females.Reference 5
Polygamy is illegal in Chinese Taipei under the Civil Code.Reference 7Art.985 Reference 5
The Civil Code in Chinese Taipei grants men and women equal rights in regard to parental authority. The Civil Code was amended in 1996 to provide that the custody of children of divorced couples should be considered in the best interest of the children, changing the previous condition where fathers automatically gained custody.Reference 7Art. 1055 and 1055-1; Foundation for Women’s Rights Promotion and Development (2009) Taiwan Women’s Almanac 2009, available at http://www.apecwln.org/2010/08/taiwan-womens-almanac-2009/, accessed 24 February 2011.p.53 Further in 2007, the law was amended so that parents are able to decide the surname of the children by written consent, abolishing the previous regulation where children only adopted the surname of the father.Foundation for Women’s Rights Promotion and Development (2009) Taiwan Women’s Almanac 2009, available at http://www.apecwln.org/2010/08/taiwan-womens-almanac-2009/, accessed 24 February 2011.p.53
The law does not discriminate between men and women in the area of inheritance.Article 1138, Civil Code. Ministry of Justice (n.d.) Law and Regulations Database: Civil Code, available at http://law.moj.gov.tw/Eng/news/news_detail.aspx?id=740, accessed 24 February 2011 However, a 2006 article by Gao in the Taiwan Review reports that daughters are often expected to forego their inheritance rights in deference to their brothers.Reference 3
Restricted Physical Integrity
The Sexual Assault Prevention Act and Criminal Code prohibit sexual violence against women.Reference 11 p.48 This includes spousal rape.Reference 2 The law establishes the punishment for rape as not less than five years’ imprisonment, and those convicted usually were given prison sentences of five to 10 years.Reference 2 The 1999 Domestic Violence Prevention Act gives police and government officials the authority to take action in domestic conflicts, even in the absence of a formal lawsuit by the victim.Domestic Violence Prevention Act (2010) available at http://db.lawbank.com.tw/Eng/FLAW/FLAWDAT01.asp?lsid=FL001351, accessed 26 January 2012 Art.8-16 The 2005 Sexual Harassment Prevention Act prohibits sexual harassment.Reference 11p.50 All public employers and larger private employers are required to enact preventive measures and establish complaint procedures to deter sexual harassment.Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (2009) available at http://db.lawbank.com.tw/Eng/FLAW/FLAWQRY03.asp?kw=harassment&lsid=FL034021&keyword=harassment&EXEC2=Search, accessed 26 January 2012. Art.7
The US Department of State describes violence against women in Chinese Taipei as a “‘serious problem”.Reference 2 There is no national prevalence data, however in between January and July 2009, 5305 reports of rape or sexual assault were made to the police. With respect to domestic violence, 65,359 reported were made between January and September 2009.Reference 2 Violence against women is under-reported due to social stigma and social pressure on women not to disgrace their families. It is estimated that the total number of sexual assaults was 10 times the number reported to the police.Reference 2
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Chinese Taipei.
Limitations on women’s reproductive rights also infringe upon women’s physical integrity in Chinese Taipei. Abortion is permitted in certain circumstances in Chinese Taipei. This is if the parents or relatives have a genetic disease that may adversely affect eugenics, if the pregnancy would adversely affects the physical health or psychological f the woman, if the pregnancy is a consequence of rape or if the unborn baby will be born with a deformity. In these circumstances, a woman must have the consent of her husband to undergo an abortion. If a woman obtains an illicit abortion, she is subject to a six-month imprisonment.Hung, D. (2004) Abortion Rights in the United States and Taiwan, available at http://www.kentlaw.edu/jicl/articles/spring2004/Abortion%20Rights%20-%20David%20Sho-Chao%20Hung.pdf, accessed 24 February 2011.
There is no gender disaggregated data available for Chinese Taipei on infant mortality or child nutrition. There is no gender gap in the educational attainment of girls and boys with respect to primary and secondary educating, indicating that there is no preferential treatment of sons in access to education.Reference 5 However, as noted in the Family Code section, daughters are often expected to forego their inheritance rights in deference to their brothers which indicates the preferential treatment of sons with respect to access to family resources.Reference 3 Further, the Taiwan Review reports that the preference for male children has outlived the country’s reliance on agriculture and the attendant need for manual labour. Even in major cities today boys are often considered more desirable than girls.Reference 3
In Chinese Taipei the male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 1.01.Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (2011) The World Factbook: Taiwan, online edition, Washington, D.C.: CIA, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tw.html(accessed 17 November 2011)
There is a receding evidence of son preference.
Restricted Resource Entitlement
There is limited data on women’s ownership rights in Chinese Taipei. There are no reported legal restrictions on women’s access to land or access to property other than land. With respect to land and property within marriage, the Civil Code was revised in 2002 to provide men and women with equal legal rights to property registered under their respective names.Reference 7 Art.1018, Art.1044 The law also stipulates that when the marriage relationship is terminated, the assets of both parties should be equally divided after matrimonial debt is deducted, thereby highlighting the economic contribution on unpaid work which is mostly undertaken by women.Reference 7 Art.1034
There are no reported legal restrictions on women’s access to bank loans and other forms of credit. However, the data on women in business show that women continue to experience barriers to equality in this area. The Taiwan Women’s Business Network reported that in 2005, the number of companies in Taiwan that were run by women exceeded 390,000, accounting for 34 percent% of the total. Yet the turnover of these companies accounted for only 13 percent% of the whole economic system.Taiwan Women’s Business Network (n.d.) Prelude, available at http://womenbusiness.taiwantrade.com.tw/Content.aspx?ID=1, accessed 24 February 2011. Female entrepreneurs (mostly from the younger generation) benefit from various micro-credit schemes, but are still out-numbered by male borrowers. A study on the framework for integrating Chinese Taipei into the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) group shows that in the first quarter of 2003 slightly more than 1 200 women received micro-entrepreneurship loans, representing almost 25% of successful applicants.Global Gender (2006) Chinese Taipei Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC, available at http://www.globalgender.org/File_show.asp?id=136, accessed 24 February 2011.
Restricted Civil Liberties
There are no reported legal restrictions on women’s freedom of movement in Chinese Taipei.
With respect to women’s participation in public life, the law provides that at least half of the at-large seats won by a political party are required to be filled by women. However, in 2010 the US Department of State reported that there were only 33 women in the 113 member Legislative Yuan. Only seven of 30 cabinet members were women.Reference 2
The Gender Equality in Employment Act guarantees women’s equal rights in the area of employment. The law provides that there should be no discrimination based on gender in any aspect of employment such as recruitment, remuneration and promotion.Art 7, Gender Equality in Employment Law, http://www.ncpb.gov.tw/eng/laws/16.pdf, accessed 27 January 2012. The law also provides for parental leave of two years which can be shared between parents. Workers who have paid into the basic labour insurance program for at least a year are eligible for the parental leave subsidy for up to six months.Art 16, Gender Equality in Employment Law, http://www.ncpb.gov.tw/eng/laws/16.pdf, accessed 27 January 2012. There are reports that the introduction of parental leave has shifted men’s roles with respect to the care of children. For instance, a newspaper reported that in 2010, nearly 20% of workers on parental leave these days were men.Taipei Times (2010) Parental leave program popular with dads as well, 8 May 2010, available at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2010/05/08/2003472478/1, accessed 24 February 2011
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law, 2012 presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women’s economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.