Despite being the Republic of China's first female leader, Tsai Ing-wen has formed the most male-dominant Cabinet in history with just two female members. Activists have started a petition, criticizing Tsai's extremely gender-imbalanced Cabinet is a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women adopted in 1979 and a huge slap in the face to Taiwan's 30-year women's movement.
Four years ago, women's groups protested outside the Democratic Progressive Party's headquarters, criticizing the Tsai administration for forming a Cabinet that was just 10 percent women. At the time, Tsai told them she would look into it. Little did the protestors know that four years later, female participation in the Cabinet would plummet even further to an all-time low. Even the Cabinet-level Gender Equality Committee is up in arms. Civic committee members question how Tsai's Cabinet can be just 2.63 percent women when women hold 42 percent of Taiwan's legislative seats and 31.81 percent of special municipality mayorships. The committee members have launched a petition.
All of the civic representatives on the committee were extremely surprised, and disappointed as well. This is nothing short of a huge slap in the face of the 30-year gender equality movement in Taiwan. (Tsai) thinks there are no qualified women in Taiwan worthy of a Cabinet position. Can we believe someone who so steadfastly believes something like this?
According to the Awakening Foundation, female participation in the Cabinet hit an all-time high of 23.4 percent under Premier Sean Chen of the Kuomintang. Female participation in the Cabinet has not been as low as it is now in over three decades, when it was 5 percent under Premier Lee Huan. The committee has passed a resolution setting a target of at least one-third representation for all genders in all government agencies.
We are very upset by this. It's like they are telling everyone the government can only be run by men and only men are capable. This will lead many citizens to think women are only suitable for low-level jobs.
The committee says it is in disbelief Taiwan's first female president would have the most male-dominant Cabinet in history and Tsai has violated the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women adopted in 1979. In contrast to Taiwan, Canada's Cabinet was 50 percent women in 2015 and Finland's was over 60 percent women in 2019. In short, Taiwan now holds the distinction of ranking dead last among the world's developed nations in female Cabinet participation.