Leadership in Public Arenas

Since the introduction of a quota system in 1954, women have increasingly won more than their minimum reserved seats at the local, provincial, and national levels (Clark & Clark, 2000). Nevertheless, men continue to hold major political power and resources (Chou, 1996; Peng, 2000). Although, in the mid-1990s, women held about 20% of the seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies and 15% of positions at the local level, only 5.7% of cabinet and deputy ministers were women (R. J. Lee, 2000). The first woman vice-president, Annette Lu, was elected in 2000. However, numerous male politicians defy her authority. The first female minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Chai-Yi Chung, was frequently humiliated by legislators and forced to resign two months after she was appointed in 2002. Although the underdeveloped political skills of these women might be partly responsible for their mistreatment, gender was also a factor. Embedded in a male-dominated environment, women politicians encounter many more obstacles than their male counterparts.

Before martial law was lifted in 1987, most women politicians were from privileged or political families. In the 1980s, however, wives and widows of Taiwanese political prisoners, using electoral platforms as forums against the K.M.T., ran several successful campaigns; they also helped to establish the opposition party (Arrigo, 1994). Nevertheless, the field of women candidates only become heterogeneous in the 1990s (Peng, 2000).

Women's participation in politics, in general, remains disproportionately centralized in women's organizations concerned with issues such as child welfare, education, and community reform. (Men, in contrast, focus on issues such as labor, politics, and the environment.) Although the feminist movement began in 1972, it has struggled to win adherents to its cause (Ku, 1988, 1989), in part because most of its leaders are Mainlanders (Clark & Clark, 2000; Fan, 2003). Their predominance began to wane in 1994 as more Taiwanese joined feminist movements. However, high levels of education and wealth continue to characterize women leaders in feminist and other social movements.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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