The first organizations in Taiwan to promote women’s rights emerged, almost a century ago, during the period of Japanese imperialism. It was led by a Canadian Presbyterian missionary who, in 1884, established the first school to teach girls to read and write: and who advocated that women be freed from the tradition of foot binding.
The 1950s saw the founding of the National Women’s League of the Republic of China followed by the YMCA. Both were a leap forward in raising social awareness about the quality of women’s lives, equality of education and employment opportunities.
Feminism was very late in coming to Taiwan, taking hold only in the 1970s. Two entities, Pioneering Publishing and the Awakening Foundation, were strong voices in addressing gender equality issues. Their enthusiasm was the breeding ground for future activists. Their passion inspired self-development for women. And their persistence advanced Taiwan’s women’s movement.
After Martial Law was lifted in 1988, women organizations mushroomed. The diversity of their concerns e.g. gender equality, safety, marriage, economic independence, health and medical insurance and political participation, broadened people’s notions about women’s issues. This was truly a new era in the history of Taiwan women.
From the Ching Dynasty, through the period of Japanese imperialism and the lifting of Martial Law, Taiwan women have arrived at a new world. A world, in which they can openly pursue a better life, be an agent for change in their communities and fearlessly development themselves.
To commemorate the remarkable achievements and contributions made by Taiwan’s women’s movements, we have arranged an exhibition featuring the 11 non-governmental organizations, which had been devoted to the women’s issues for over 20 years in Taiwan.
|National Women’s League of the Republic of China|
|The National Women’s League of the Republic of China was founded by Madame Chiang Kai-shek on April 17, 1950. The prime purpose of the League was to render services to the armed forces, to shield our country, and to sustain soldiers’ family.
|In 1982, a group of women persistently gathering around for the similar ideas and attitude toward gender equity published the “Awakening Magazine” with an intention of increasing women’s self –awareness and promoting women’s rights. For the further mobilization of women and social resources, the group members collected funds and then established “Awakening Foundation” in October of 1987.
The Awakening Foundation has been giving impetus to policy and institutional reform that actively practices and promotes gender equality. It had enacted legislation such as the “Gender Equality in Employment Act” and the “Amendment of enforcement Act of the Part of Family of the Civil Code.” Moreover, it has taken actions such as superintending execution of women policy, lobbying on women’s issues, and broadening women’s participation in public affairs to transform the government agencies as being able to contribute positively toward the goal of gender mainstreaming.