A good woman is not hard to find

By Hsu Chia-ching, Taipei Times, Wednesday 8 March 2000, Page 8

Although Taiwan's women are receiving more and more recognition of their abilities in many areas, there are still many fields where the proportion of men and women is unbalanced and women are in the minority. In recent years, we in the women's movement have realized that one big issue is the dearth of women in leadership positions, especially in political life.

In response to complaints, although nobody comes right out and says that women are bad leaders, we are often told that it takes time to build up enough talent, that we should be patient and that the day for female leadership will come soon.

I feel this attitude is misguided, because there are so many talented women who are already well qualified for the highest levels of leadership. Therefore, on this Women's Day, I want to express my wish that when the Womens' Day comes around next year, Taiwan will have set a world first by installing an all-female Cabinet to lead us into a new era.

I sincerely call on all the presidential candidates to consider seriously the idea of forming an all-female Executive Yuan.

This idea is not totally fanciful. In fact, I have drawn up a list of my favorite candidates for all the major ministries and councils of the Executive Yuan. The minor agencies (some of which should be abolished anyway, such as the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission) could be allocated as positions for token men -- after all, these are the positions they usually leave for token women nowadays!

Here is my wish list:

Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Annette Lu (%Gå��%@篆デå��ダ緬デå��ダ踝 蕭), Commissioner of Taoyuan County

Minister of the Interior:

Chen Chu (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ踝蕭, director, Kaohsiung City Bureau of Social Affairs; former

director of Taipei City Bureau of Social Affairs

Minister of Economic Affairs:

Shirley Kuo (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ踝蕭), minister without portfolio; former minister of finance and chairwoman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development

Minister of Finance:

Vivian W. Yen (%Gå��%@範デå��ダ誕歹蕭/CHINESE>), chairwoman, Yulon Motor Corp

Minister of National Defense:

Yeh Chu-lan (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ踝蕭デ å���ダ, three-term legislator, member of the legislature's defense committee

Minister of Justice:

Lin Chu-chi (%Gå��%@盤デå��ダ踝蕭), senior law professor

Minister of Education:

Wong Chin-chu (%Gå��%@諄迎蕭), three term legislator, member of the education committee

Minister of Transportation and Communications:

Nita Ing (%Gå��%@踝蕭), chairwoman of Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp

Minister of Culture (upgraded from chairperson, Council for Cultural Affairs):

Chu Hui-liang (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ篆デå�� ダ罷), two-term legislator, member of the education committee

Director-General, Department of Health:

Chang Wen-ying (%Gå��ç® å��%@踝蕭N), Mayor of Taichung City; doctor

Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency:

Liu Shih-fang (%Gå��%@畿デå��ダ瑾デå��ダ 踝蕭/CHINESE>), deputy

commissioner of Taichung County; former director of the Taipei City Bureau of Environmental Protection

Chairwoman, Mainland Affairs Council:

Fan Hsun-lu (%Gå��%@磅デå��ダ磅デå��ダ踝 蕭, two-term


Chairwoman, Council for Economic Planning and Development:

Lee Jih-chu (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ稽), chairwoman, National Youth Commission; professor of finance

Chairwoman, Council on Agriculture:

Chen Lai-hong (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��è«�ダ穿蕭 /CHINESE>), founder and chairwoman, Homemakers Union and Foundation

Chairwoman, Council of Labor Affairs:

Huang Chao-hsun (%Gå��%@踝蕭L%Gå��%@踝蕭), three term legislator

Chairwoman, Council of Aboriginal Affairs:

Chang Jen-hsiang (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ踝蕭デ å��ダ踝蕭), two-term legislator, representing Plains Aborigines

Chairwoman, Research, Development and Evaluation Commission:

Chang Fu-mei (%Gå��ç® å��%@瘢デå��ダ踝蕭 /CHINESE>), member of the Control Yuan, former director of the Taipei City Commission for Examining Petitions and Appeals

Director, Government Information Office:

Diane Ying (%Gå��%@踝允デè��ダ), publisher, Commonwealth Publishing Group)

And the premier? Since the political environment today is so complex and the government might not be able to count on majority support in the Legislative Yuan, I would suggest Chang Po-ya (%Gå��ç® å��%@調塚蕭). She is not affiliated with any party and her administrative experience is unparalleled -- she served two terms as mayor of Chiayi and seven years as director-general of the Department of Health, before returning to Chiayi as mayor.

If most people feel that we need a person like Lee Yuan-tseh (%Gå���%@?%Gå���%@/CHINESE>) who enjoys unparalleled social esteem and confidence, there is also a female alternative: Master Cheng Yen (%Gå��%@踝蕭デå��ダ 糊デå��ダ緞) of the Tzu-chi Foundation. The pity is that like Dr Lee, she probably has no interest in serving.

There will inevitably be a chorus of complaints about the composition of this list: Why have you included X but left out Y?, You have concentrated only on your own side of the political spectrum, etc.

I freely admit all of these errors. But these complaints only prove the fact that there are certainly more than enough excellent women available to lead our country.

In fact, among such an abundance, choosing such a small number among them is a painful and difficult task.

In any case, I think few objective observers could honestly say that they think this Cabinet would do any worse than the current one, and thus the point is made: the women of Taiwan are ready for government, today!