International Council of Women to hold major meetings in Taiwan

The International Council of Women (ICW), the oldest international women’s organization in the world, is set to hold its general assembly and executive meeting in Taiwan for the first time ever.

The theme of this year’s executive meeting, which opens on Monday, is “transforming society through women’s empowerment,” Kim Jung-sook, president of ICW, said during an interview with CNA in Taipei.

“This is a very meaningful event,” she said.

With the support of the government, Taiwan has been able to make progress in gender equality and on other gender issues, Kim said in response to questions of why Taiwan was chosen as the host of this year’s meetings.

ICW members also hope to come here to see firsthand and learn more about how Taiwan achieved more participation for women in the political, economic, social and other spheres, she added.

One of the achievements of women’s participation in Taiwan is that 38 percent of lawmakers are women, the highest ratio in Asia, said Linda Liu (劉怜君), president of the National Council of Women Taiwan (NCWT), an ICW member that is organizing this year’s ICW meetings in Taipei.

Asked about women in leadership positions, Kim said it was difficult for women to lead Asian countries presumably because of the dominance of Confucianism, which tends to favor men over women, making it harder for women to gain power.

Discrimination against women is still a prevalent issue in Asia, Kim said, adding that women should be united and be empowered. Women should have greater participation in politics, the economy and other parts of society, she said.

The ICW executive meeting will run from Nov. 14 to 17 at the Grand Hotel and bring together about 100 experts and members of women’s rights groups from more than 40 countries to discuss women-related issues, according to the NCWT.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Taiwan’s first female president, is scheduled to speak at the meeting. Taiwan’s Deputy Health Minister Lu Pau-Ching (呂寶靜) will give a talk on Taiwan’s policy on issues related to women’s rights.

Speaking of Taiwan’s first female president, Kim said she would encourage her to make a great effort to realize “true gender equality” by raising women’s participation in political, economic and social arenas to 50 percent.

Kim comes from South Korea, which also has a female president.

In 1997, NCWT became a member of the ICW, which was founded in 1888. Since its establishment, ICW has been dedicated to bringing global attention to the issue of women’s rights and leading the battle against gender-based social injustice.

This year’s executive meeting is aimed at sharing and promoting the values of women’s empowerment with women and girls from other parts of the world where they still suffer from social injustice and inequalities, NCWT said.

“As an affiliate of ICW, NCWT works to promote the ICW programs of action and its goals of human rights, equality, peace and women’s involvement in all spheres of life,” it said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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