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Constructing an evolving friendly workplace – from the perspective of the Gender Equality Index in workplaces of Taipei City

National Taipei University Department of Law
Professor Kuo, Ling-Hwei

       From 2002, our country began implementing the Act of Gender Equality in Employment to practically carry out the gender equality policy in the workplace. Across a new era with a decade of efforts, the Department of Gender Equality, Executive Yuan referred to GII’s editing (Gender Inequality Index) delivered by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), estimated the assessment outcomes of GII of 2017.

       Our country is in the top 8 of the world, and the number 1 in Asia for making up the GII. Our achievement is worthy of praise. Its results came out with the efforts of labor side, capital side and the Government side. The salary gap between females and males have been reduced to the current 14% from the 33% that it was 30 years ago. Undeniably, the situation in which a female employee suffers from disadvantaging treatment or promotions of positions or wages due to pregnancy, delivery or raising children still exists. The above preceding news on the equality gap between males and females is often heard.

       For the purpose of helping a company reviewing whether or not its business entity thoroughly carries out regulations of gender equality, and whether or not the measures taken can really promote the workplace for gender equality and comprehend the potential direction for constructing a friendly workplace, the Department of Labor of Taipei City Government has convened the labor side, capital side as well as scholars and specialists to draft together the “Gender Equality Index in the workplace of Taipei City (hereafter called GEI). It supplies companies a guidance of constructing a friendly workplace, so that companies can develop their own featured friendly measures, for maintaining business talents. The goal of persistent management is to be achieved.

       The GEI can be principally divided into 7 segments: relevant mechanism for promoting gender equality, gender equality for promoting organizational decision-making, gender equality for pay increases, education and discipline for promoting gender equality, balance of time between work and family, friendly measures for parenting children, and friendly measures for gender equality in workplaces.

       The core purpose of the GEI aims to help an entity in establishing a systematic organization and regulations, and to permanently promote the policy. Like the government agency, the company sets up an organization or mechanism to promote gender equality and to conduct the business of promoting gender equality. The gender numbers of members making policies in the organization shall refer to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Content of General Recommendation No.23, in which it regulates that any gender ratio can’t go lower than one third of the total members. Its aim is to encourage female’s promotion or female’s attendance in making policies. Speaking of participating on the organization making policies, it doesn’t only mean to participate in the Board of Supervisors. In the enterprise, there are some other organizations which likely influence labor conditions, promotions and welfare of employees. All Genders, especially females, are expected to be encouraged to participate in these organizations, such as, Performance Evaluation Committee, Rewards and Punishments Committee, and etc.

       Undeniably, our country’s wages between males and females have a significant gap. The salary structure and payment standards are different in every institution. Concrete measures are established for reviewing reasons that cause salary differences, including reviewing whether or not a situation exists, in which a gender is isolated for certain jobs, or whether or not the gender difference exists on the management level, which causes the problem in getting an unequal salary, and whether or not reasonable rewards are based on “equal pay for equal work” and “equal pay for work of equal value”.

       The cultivation of gender equality awareness is a cornerstone for promoting gender equality. Therefore, the GEI includes the measures of educational trainings in proportion to the measures used for the business entity. For further implementation on gender equality, the business entity is expected to conduct different educational trainings for different requirements of a general employee or a supervisor. And for increasing female’s participation in making policies, the leadership cultivation is of significance. Therefore the standard of gender equality also includes the preceding item.

       Another significant point of the GEI is to anticipate the business entity developing its own friendly measures of gender equality in the workplace. In addition to the requirement of implementing current decrees, the adjustment of workings hours and way of working, based on the characteristics of the company, are available through the company’s assistance. The measures of offering subsidies for parenting children aim to reduce the burden on their employees for balancing their time between work and family. Referring to the needs for facilities and measures for employees to parent their children or need of day care for their children, the friendly measures in accordance with the employee’s needs is necessary.

       Certainly, establishing a friendly and safe environment for all genders in the workplace is not negligible for a business entity. In addition to the processing mechanism, an active prevention, especially the educational training, is significant for employees together with employers to build a friendly working environment for all genders in workplaces. The GEI finally includes reviewing company’s active measures for the prevention of sexual harassment so that the enterprise establishes a workplace in which employees can feel more at ease in working, enjoy themselves at work and have expectation of an evolving friendly workplace that promotes gender equality.