文/陳正翰  圖/YFS

05262014

前副總統呂秀蓮25日參加於南韓濟州舉行的IFBPW 世界年會,並發表15分鐘演說,談論女性領導力。

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呂秀蓮首先比較清末慈禧太后與大約同時期朝鮮的明成皇后與日本的篤姬,後兩者將國家帶向新的里程碑,而保守的慈禧則讓中國遠離現代化之路。1950年代以後,世界各國陸續產生女性國家領導人,至今全球已有43個國家出現過女總統 (其中7個在亞洲)、58個國家出現過女總理 (其中5個在亞洲),然而呂秀蓮也質疑這些女性擔任國家領導人的國家,女性地位有比較好嗎?她引用聯合國的資料佐證事實並不是如此。原因出在亞洲受到傳統父權社會與社會階層的影響,女性長期處在社會的底層,只有少數出身政治世家的女性才能出頭天,提升女權並非她們的首要之務。不過德國總理梅克爾等人的例子則可給全球女性帶來鼓勵與啟發。

 

呂秀蓮接著花了幾分鐘介紹台灣過去幾十年的女權運動史與民主化歷程,2000年陳呂當選國家正副領導人,開啟兩性共治新紀元,女性參政比例大為提高,內閣中女性閣員比例接近四分之一,呂秀蓮也推動包括「好管家」等計劃,協助婦女就業。

 

呂秀蓮認為女性佔人口一半,不但在政治上要撐起一片天,更要在其他領域與議題上扮演重大角色,尤其女性以柔克剛的「柔性力量」(Soft Power) 至為關鍵,女性朋友應該要善加利用。最後,呂秀蓮勉勵各位IFBPW 的會員,21世紀也是「女性經濟」(She-Economy) 的世紀,女性消費力驚人,商機無限,女性企業家比男性更為了解女性的需求,對女性企業家是力多。雖然路途漫長,也許艱辛,但只要堅持下去,必能成功。

 

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BPW 2014 International Congress

 Women Leadership in the 21st Century 

H.E. Lu Hsiu-lien Annette

Former Vice-President of Taiwan

Jeju Island, Korea 

May 24, 2014

International President Freda Miriklis, past Presidents, President Dr. Insil Lee of Korea Federation of BPW, sisters of IFBPW, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning! Early birds get the worms. Brilliant and hard working women earn success and respect! Let’s congratulate the excellent leadership under President Miriklis and past Presidents who devoted their wisdom and enthusiasm to the development of IFBPW.

Congratulations also go to the Korea Federation of BPW under the leadership of President Insil Lee and President Aeduk Im of Jeju Club to organize and host the 2014 International Congress here in Jeju Island. In supporting IFBPW and enhancing the sisterhood between Korea and Taiwan, I would like to present you the delegation of 50 sisters coming with me from Taiwan.

We are gathering here today from each corner of the world, not to complain about the past, rather to prospect the future. We are talking about the leadership at the top, talking about how to climb the mountain, up toward the peak of life. It is a great topic for this congress as its host Korea is a model country led by an excellent lady, President Geun-Hye Park. President Park was born in the first family but grew up with a series of tragedies and challenges. Her life story certainly is a legend to women and deserves our appreciation.

Reflecting over the history of women leadership in Northeast Asia, coincidentally China, Korea and Japan, each had a woman with her unique status to play an unique and critical role at a pivotal moment for her own country. China’s Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后), Korea’s Queen Myeongseong (明成皇后) and Japan’s Atsuhime (篤姬) were the last queens of a dynasty. While Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后) was a conservative, Japan’s Atsuhime (篤姬) appeared to be considerably liberated. However, the story of Korea’s Queen Myeongseong (明成皇后) deserves a careful study for a fair judgment on her leadership for Korea. Based on Feminism, it was obvious that Dowager Cixi‘s (慈禧太后) conservatism resulted in the stagnation of China for modernization. By contrast, Atsuhime’s(篤姬) liberalism was helpful for Japan’s emancipation from Bakufu (幕府) to Meiji Restoration (明治維新). However, the destiny of Korean Queen reflects the struggle of woman for herself and for her motherland. Throughout her entire life, Korea’s last queen fought hard against feudalism within royal palace and led her country against intrusion from Russia, China, and Japan toughly and bitterly. Regretfully, she was slaughtered and burned to death by her enemy Japan. A tragedy that the Korean people hardly can forget or forgive.

In modern history, women did not reach to the pinnacle position until the 1950’s when Mongolia had its first female president, though only in a brief period of time. In 1990’s, there were 30 women elected to become president. Ever since then, many countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America have elected women presidents and female prime ministers. In the year of 2005, women leadership seemed to be blooming, as Chancellor Angela Merkel started to lead the nation, followed by Liberia, Argentina, Bangladesh and 15 other nations worldwide.

Up until today there have been 43 countries having a female President, and 58 countries have had a female Prime Minister. And in Asia, there have been 7 countries having a female President and 5 countries having a female Prime Minister. Some of these have had more than one female leader. But are women in these countries better than others? Not necessarily.

 

World

Asia

Countries ever having a female President

43

7

Female Presidents who served less than a year

13

 

Countries ever having a female Prime Minister

58

5

Female Prime Ministers who served less than a year

21

 

 

The UNDP uses 3 dimensions to capture the gender achievement due to gender inequality within a country. According to 2012 Gender Inequality Index (GII) rankings, South Korea ranked 27, Sri Lanka 75, Philippines 77, Bangladesh 113, and India 132. Among those countries that haven’t been ruled by a woman, Singapore ranked 13, Japan 21, China 35, and Malaysia 42. Despite that Taiwan is not a UN member, Taiwan’s GII ranked No.1 in Asia, No.4 in the world!

 

Women’s Century, When to Come?

Doubtlessly, 21st century is the Asian Century. But is it a century for women? The main reason was that Asian cultures are based on a traditional societal hierarchy in which women are the lowest member and must show deference to males. With very few exceptions, nearly all the Asian women politicians came from political families. They were by no means feminists and women’s rights were not their priority.

It is worthy of note that a number of countries in Asia have had female head of state. And in Taiwan, I’m the first woman vice-president and the only vice-president reelected. Up till today, with the exception of New Zealand, Australia, and me, those Asian women national leaders all came from powerful political families, either their father or their husband or brother was a strong political figure. Some of them in fact were political widows, and such widow politics has been a unique phenomenon in Asia. Their participation into politics shall not be considered a model for feminist politician, as they were not on their own and some were not proven to be good politicians. A Feminist politician shall stand up on her own, not on her family; shall fight for the people, not for her family or herself.

As a matter of fact, the most powerful person of the year 2007 was not a man but a woman, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who happened to preside over both the European Council and G8 group in that year. And nothing terribly bad happened. It is clear that women really can lead the world, not just a nation or a family. Indeed, long before Merkel, Madam Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister already enjoyed the reputation of her international leadership. They are all inspirations for us women. They lead and change the world for the betterment of people in the world.

 

 

Women’s Struggle in Taiwan

I would like to take a few minutes to share with you the struggle and success of women in Taiwan.

Taiwan had been under martial law for 38 years, whereby people’s freedom and political participation had been severely restricted and their human rights badly suppressed. Socially, it was as conservative and feudalistic as one can imagine. Taiwan’s women traditionally suffered from the double burden of Chinese Confucian teachings and Japanese male chauvinism under five decades of Japan’s colonial rule, and then another fifty years by the rule of the Chinese Nationalistregime.

In the summer of 1977 when I returned from the U.S., the whole Taiwan society was debating on how to prevent young women from attending universities, since they were expected to abandon their careers and stay at home to take care of the household after getting married.

It was under such circumstances that I began to champion feminism, criticizing male chauvinism and proposing new feminist beliefs. I wrote articles, made speeches, organized women and conducted a variety of activities.

On December 10th, 1979, when a large number of people were celebrating the International Human Rights Day at a rally, and the police and soldiers were ordered to usetear gas against the crowd. I witnessed so much chaos that I was outraged and stood on the top of a truck to deliver a most passionate speech for 20 minutes, before a hundred thousands of people. Three days later, I was the first one arrested followed by 151 others. EventuallyI was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but was released on a medical parole after 1933 days imprisonment.

After my release, I was elected a member of the Parliament, then the Magistrate of Taoyuan County, and subsequently the first female Vice President of Taiwan. During my career, I suffered from thyroid carcinoma at the age of thirty, at the age of thirty six I was imprisoned for 6 years and later at the age of sixty, and was nearly assassinated with Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian a day before we were re-elected for our second term.

On November 21st of 1997, the then magistrate of my home county and eight other local politicians were brutally massacred. With the country horrified in shock with mafia and local factions, my party nominated me to run for the replacement. I accepted the challenge and got elected overwhelmingly. I had overcome all the troublesome problems including crime, corruption and pollutions made by my former male colleague. I had brought tranquility and confidence back to my home county, demonstrated to people that a woman can serve the public better than a man.

In 2000, I was invited by one of the defense lawyers from the Martial Law trial, Mr. Chen Shui-bian to be his running mate, and together we overturned 50 years of authoritarian one-party rule, making me the first female vice president. The electoral victory in 2000 marked Taiwan’s milestone of democratic change in ending over 50 years’autocracy regime. It also marked a new era of bi-gender politics, as government was no longer monopolized by men.

During the eight yearsof my Vice-Presidency from 2000-2008, women’s rolesand positionsin the politicaland government offices experienced an unprecedented surge.Thirty-five women were appointed to hold ministerial or vice ministerial positions, two served as vice premiers.In particular, I, myself have initiated a special project named “the Good Housekeepers” to train single mothers and divorcees, in housekeeping, baby-sitting and nursing services, not only to help them to earn a living, but also to help professional women to be released from their household tasks and to devote to their careers.

With regard toParliament, while in the 1970s only 7 percent of elected legislators were women, reached now 33percent.As more women went to Parliament, they pushed through legislation to protect and enhance women’s rights.

Write History with HER-stories

From the kitchen to the office, women have made a big breakthrough, not only for herself but also for humankind. Have women changed the world when they became part of the decision makers?

Let us look over the entire human civilization. It has been noted that 99.9 percent of all wars were initiated by men, yet 80 percent of victims of war are women and their beloved husbands and children. Why so? Because women were not empowered to decide whether there is a need for a war. Because women were not empowered to prevent war from happening.

We should not forget that we women are the descendants of Eve and that we constitute half of the world population. Without Eve, there would not have been mankind; without women there wouldn’t be babies. The point is, why through the millennia of human history are there only “his stories” and not “her stories”?

Regretfully, throughout human history, problems after problems threaten the survival of the universe and living beings, no matter ecological or economic, political or social. In recent years the global economy has been hit by financial tsunamis. Worse than that, the frequent occurrences of natural disasters and catastrophes are the most crucial crises on earth.

The United Nations’ IPCC reports that, in the year 2008 there were 321 natural catastrophes which have caused two hundred thirty-five thousand deaths and affected 211.6 million people.

The geographic records indicate that there had been 5 great extinctions to destroy the earth throughout the last 500 million years. These records remind us that currently we are in the mid-term of the 6th Great Extinction. In recent years, spices on earth have been extinguished in an incredible speed.

How much time do we have before we mankind are extinguished? What shall we do to rescue our mother earth? There are only ten to tens of years for us to prevent the menace, but we have to change our lifestyle and to improve our management of the earth before it is too late. We have to promote green economy to reduce environmental pollution and natural resource depletion. We have to save the earth and save our future!

 

Empowerment of Soft Power

To face the unprecedented, multiple challenges coming our way, we women have to learn and apply the wisdom of “soft power.” My country Taiwan has learned to project soft power, namely,democracy, human rights, culture, love, peace and technological innovation. These values help and facilitate Taiwan’s transformation from a small, poor country under an authoritarian regime into a highly developed country with most advanced high-technology and democracy. Of course, Korea is another good model for soft power, making Korea so progressive and powerful in the world, contrast to the Communist North Korea. Especially under the leadership of Madam Park, the strong power of soft power easily distinguishes itself from the orthodox of hard power manipulated by a young Communist leader.

While the traditional “hard power” is destructive and exploitative, soft power is constructive and generous in nature. Soft power is the foundation for world peace and substantial development. Hard power should no longer be the sole measurement of a country’s success, and soft power will play more important role in the future of our world.

Can soft power help strengthen women? Of course, women are the best players of soft power. But to be empowered to play, women must first enrich themselves with their own soft power of mercy, beauty, wisdom and courage.

To show mercy is to embrace the unfortunate and to give hope for the hopeless. Women’s beauty is not just physical but spiritual and intellectual. Women shall develop themselves for wisdom rather than sexual appearance. And courage is to speak up for what is right and to fight against what is wrong. It is with these four virtues that women will break away from being the passive victims of history and will become active writers for human story. With mercy, beauty, wisdom and courage, these four virtues, we women can become good and strengthful peace makers for the world

 

21st Century: She-Economy

Believe it or not, the 21st century is a century for she-economy! In fact, women made 85% of consumer choices. It is expected that in the next decade, about 870 millionwomen around the world will enter the job market and 822 million come from non-industrialized countries. They will create work and start businesses and the gender gap in earnings will be narrowed down. Mobile and Internet technologies will help women run businesses easier and overcome the legal or traditional barriers that prevented them from participating.  

In the Asia-Pacific region, women’s potential remains largely underutilized. Collectively, the 21 countries of the Asia Pacific region lose between $42 to $46 billion of GDP annually by not tapping into women’s economic potential.

In deed, the era for she-economy has come! In 2009, the total combined income of women in the world was $13 trillion, and it is expected to add up $5 trillion in 2014. With good income women will become good consumers. More products are designed and marketed specifically for women, or suiting women’s taste. Businesswomen certainly know better than men for what women really like and need.

What are female characteristics in she-economy? Compared to men, businesswomen tend to start businesses from humanitarian perspective, caring more about environmental protection and ecology, and sense of beauty. More women in business means more humanity, more green economy, and more artistic interests. In a word, women tend to be the pivotal power for the substantial development of the globe. While he-economy pursuits for self-interest, expansion and exploitation, she-economy reflects a value of humanity, greenness, and benevolence. While he-economy stresses on “hard power,” she-economy elaborates “soft power.”

The 58th session of the UN commission on the status of women concluded on March 24 to stress on “The Post-2015 Development Agenda” to include gender-specific targets across other development goals, strategies and objectives – especially those related to education, health, economic justice and the environment. Therefore, the women leadership in the 21st century has to put the priority of gender-specific target along with she-economy into her agenda. I firmly believe that with Feminism and soft power, women’s leadership can change the world better. We women shall be determined to lead our family, our society and our world for a better future. The path is long and filled with obstacles. We need friends but we do not rely on others. We rely on ourselves. We make ourselves the Masters of our destines; we make mission impossible into mission possible. Above all, we write her-stories into human history!

Thank you.

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