Gender imbalance in new cabinet draws protests and concern

In preparation for the government transition on May 20, Taiwan President-elect Tsai Ing-wen has been searching and nominating members of her new cabinet in the past few weeks. The 2016 election created the first female president of Taiwan as well as a legislature with historic high female proportion (43 out of 113, 37.2%). However, among the list of 40 cabinet ministers proposed by Premier-designate Lin Chuan 林全, only 4 are female. Women’s rights groups held protest in front of the DPP headquarters today, while Tsai acknowledged the imbalance on her Facebook page and promised to place gender equality as a priority for the new government. DPP maintained that many female candidates have been consulted but turned down the offers.

In this day and age, it is rather disappointing to have yet another government made up of heterosexual men mostly in their 50s and 60s. President-elect Tsai has said prior to the election that she would like Taiwan to be a place where every girl feel like they can freely pursue any occupation they want, regardless of sex, including the highest office of the land. For that to be true, more female role models would certainly help. Looking at the Canadian Cabinet named last November, I can only hope that one day Taiwan would be able to match its diversity in a government cabinet.

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