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Friendly New Workplace Culture in Taipei Men are Encouraged to Take Unpaid Parental Leave

Gender equality has always been one of the policy objectives of the Taipei City Government. To promote the concept of “equal pay for equal work” in all sectors and to reduce the pay gap between men and women, the Department of Labor and Department of Economic Development (Taipei City Office of Commerce) invited outstanding enterprise owners and female board directors of commercial districts to a special screening of a film on gender equality, “Hidden Figures,” on January 25, 2017. The city government hoped to promote the concept of gender equality among all enterprises and groups. In the meantime, February 11th of each year is the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science,” so the film was also especially dedicated to the outstanding female workers in the workplace.

The concept of the “Equal Pay Day” can be traced back to the “Red Purse Campaign” of 1988 by the International Federation of Business and Professional Women. On the Equal Pay Day, women carry their red purses outside. Apart from being conspicuous, the red purses are equivalent to the meaning of “negative numbers” because “Equal Pay Day” suggests the extra days that women have to work in order to obtain the same average yearly wage as men receive. This campaign also asks society to place importance on gender issues, facilitate workplace gender equality, and reduce the pay gap between men and women.

In the last 10 years, the hourly pay gap between men and women in Taiwan has been reduced from 18.8% in 2006 to 14.0% in 2016. In other words, the number of extra days that women have to work was reduced from 69 to 52. The average pay gap between men and women has been reduced by 4.8% or 17 days. In 2017, the “Equal Pay Day” fell on February 21st, two days earlier than last year’s February 23rd. Compared with the USA, Japan, and Korea, Taiwan has long had a smaller average pay gap between men and women.

The “Equal Pay Day” might seem to be about the average pay gap between men and women. However, according to the research by the Department of Labor, this sort of gender gap also occurs during the process of promotion. Women often have to leave their jobs because they have to take care of children, or elderly family, or the household. It results in a career break or a lack of advantages when women compete with men for the same position, and leads to women’s lower pay. According to the telephone survey, “Reinstatement Care for Employment After Unpaid Parental Leave,” conducted by the Department of Labor in 2016, the results showed that among 7,848 workers, the percentage of women requesting unpaid parental leaves reached 88.2% (6,918 people), whereas only 11.8% of men (930 people) requested parental leaves. The proportion of men applying for Unpaid Parental Leave is only 10%, far lower than women; the difference between the two proportions is significant. This clearly demonstrates the traditional notion that women have to act as the main caregiver in the household, making working women become “sandwiched mothers,” who are caught between work, household chores, and child care. Therefore, promoting equal pay for equal work between men and women starts from a comprehensive child-care system and the implementation of the Act of Gender Equality in Employment so that women no longer need to leave their jobs due to household chores and family care. At the same time, as enterprises are assisted with implementing the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, men are encouraged to request unpaid parental leaves to take active roles in parenting.

To facilitate workplace gender equality, last year (2016), the Department of Labor started the campaign of “Equal Parental Responsibility Moves Taipei Forward: 5 F’s for the new family man.” Starting from five concepts: Family (a warm family), Father (shoulder to lean on), Friendly (friendly company), Fortune (dependable happiness), and Future (hopeful future), the Department of Labor has held the activity that “calls for entries for photos of working daddies taking care of children with the 5 F’s,” encouraging men to participate in parenting. This year (2017), continuing the concept of “5 F’s for the new family man,” the Department of Labor promotes the concept of “Share Housework, Relax at Work.” Also, with the theme of “Helpers in my Family: 5 F’s for the new family man,” the Department held a colored drawing contest for children. The day before the Women and Children’s Day, Taiwan’s first promotion pamphlet for rights and interests in workplace gender equality was released, called “I Love My Parental Leave: Know Your Work Leave Rights and Interests”. The pamphlet was made to help employers and parents understand the regulations for different types of leave from work. Fathers are invited to take real actions to break the traditional stereotypes by sharing housework together with their spouses and contributing to the growth of their children. This will reduce the obstacles for women re-entering the workplace to participate in economic activities. The Department hopes that through a series of peaceful activities, “Campaign for Friendly New Workplace Culture in Taipei,” workplace gender equality will take deeper root in families, gradually subverting the social phenomenon that mostly women request unpaid maternal leaves. The change further allows women more time to contribute their own knowledge and skills to the workplace. Female employees can then compete equally with male employees and seize the opportunity to put their skills to use.

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  • Updated: 2017/9/27 09:15
  • Reviewed: 2017/9/27 09:14

  • Source: Department of Labor, Taipei City Government