Chinese Taipei has long supported women’s economic empowerment and the integration of gender awareness into the workforce and public policymaking. More...
Chinese Taipei has long supported women’s economic empowerment and the integration of gender awareness into the workforce and public policymaking. From the 1960s to 1980s, Chinese Taipei’s labor-intensive, export-led economic policy relied greatly on the enhanced participation of women in the workforce. In a span of 15 years, women’s participation in the manufacturing sector rose from 20 to 40 percent. Since 2009, women in Chinese Taipei have been entitled to six months of paid maternity leave at 60 percent of their salary, on top of eight weeks of full pay. The economy’s 2011 Gender Equality in Employment Act further underscores the government’s deep commitment to strengthening the position of women in the economy, including through the establishment of committees on gender equality in government, prohibitions against sexual harassment, and benefits that significantly extend to men the same opportunities for parental leave that women receive.
The overall environment for doing business in Chinese Taipei is strong. In 2014, the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranked the economy 19 out of 189 economies surveyed. Today, as Chinese Taipei’s business sector becomes more innovative and knowledge-oriented, the economy is committed to getting both men and women online and engaged in technology entrepreneurship. According to a 2013 report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), Chinese Taipei leads APEC in the percentage of individuals intending to start a business within the next three years.
Still, the labor market participation rate of women in Chinese Taipei–50.5 percent in 2014–remains considerably less than the APEC average of 60.9 percent. For every 11 adult male “early-stage entrepreneurs,” only around five females are similarly engaged. In 2003, 394,245 woman-owned enterprises represented 33.9 percent of total businesses and generated 13.1 percent of total business revenue. By 2010, those figures had increased just slightly to 35.8 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.
Despite its gender gap in entrepreneurship, Chinese Taipei is home to numerous policy fora and national associations that advocate for women’s rights and gender mainstreaming in policy and business circles. Recognizing the shortage of skilled, employable labor in many highly productive, innovative industries, the public sector has undertaken research and design of policies that help women find employment. Although women’s pay across the workforce is 16.1 percent less than their male counterparts’, the wage gap in Chinese Taipei compares favorably to economies like Japan (33.9 percent) or the United States (17.9 percent).
The gender breakdown at various points along a typical professional career path reveals important turning points for women in business. Conditions are generally favorable for women who attend university, where they make up 49 percent of graduates, and in entry-level positions, where they account for 44 percent of professionals. However, participation drops steeply after women get married. Women hold just 18 percent of mid-level to senior management positions in Chinese Taipei, and only 9 percent of executive committee member positions. As in most economies, a strong contributing factor is the double burden of motherhood and a full-time career on working women.
In 2014, Chinese Taipei hosted the 62nd Congress of the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (FCEM World Congress), welcoming representatives from at least 28 economies to strategize together and develop business opportunities. Continued attention to pro-women policies further down the enterprise pipeline, especially at senior management levels and on company boards, along with a wider offering of loan opportunities and corporate training schemes targeted to women entrepreneurs, would go a long way in helping women in Chinese Taipei reach their potential.
Women business owners in Chinese Taipei can expand their networks by joining formal business and trade associations that are open to all enterprises. Also, a wide variety of networks specifically for women are funded or organized through private, public, or nongovernmental means. Many networks have an international focus, aiming to expand access to markets across borders and to raise the voice of Chinese Taipei’s entrepreneurs on the global stage.
The public sector in Chinese Taipei plays a central role in the formation and coordination of most of the networks profiled in this section. For example, the Women Entrepreneurs Association was established as an alumni group for participants of a government-sponsored entrepreneurship support program. The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) under the Bureau of Foreign Trade funds and implements a number of online and offline networks, with a focus on foreign markets and investors.
Networks that support women’s access to capital and assets:
Networks that support women’s access to markets:
Networks that support strengthened capacity and skills for women in business:
Networks that support women’s leadership, voice and agency:
Networks that support women and innovation and technology:
In Chinese Taipei, a few large, multinational companies are engaged in women’s economic empowerment. Of note are Microsoft and ASUS, two technology providers that target the gender and urban-rural divide in ICT usage. Additionally, a number of commercial banks have signed on to provide loans to women entrepreneurs through the government’s micro-business loan program (the credit is guaranteed by a government agency).
There is also a strong civil society sector at the national level advocating for policy change in favor of women’s rights, and raising awareness of women’s issues through various channels. Finding up-to-date information on these initiatives is difficult as many of the websites are not regularly updated, or only accessible in Mandarin Chinese.
Initiatives that support women’s access to capital and assets:
Initiatives that support women’s access to markets:
Initiatives that support strengthened capacity and skills for women in business:
Initiatives that support women’s leadership, voice and agency:
Initiatives that support women and innovation and technology:
The Chinese Taipei government supports a range of services aimed at female entrepreneurs while striving to measure the impact of these services on women’s business gains. The focus appears to be primarily on support to startup micro-businesses and on encouraging the use of ICT and technology entrepreneurship.
Although many services work generally to help women access startup funding, just one program is dedicated to this: the Micro-Business Startup Loan program, which provides small loans to micro-business entrepreneurs. Other services are compartmentalized into corresponding government agencies. For example, training is provided through the Workforce Development Agency. The Women Entrepreneurship “Flying Goose” program was started in 2013 and shows particular promise in providing an integrated basket of resources and support services to women entrepreneurs.