Women as Agents of Social Change

Lu Hsiu-lien Annette

Vice President of Taiwan 2000-2008

 

Forum 2000

Prague, Czech Republic

October 17, 2016

 

Women constitute a half population on earth. More and more people trust women to lead their nations as much as to take care of their families. Indeed, the 21st century is the beginning of she-century and human history begins to include her-stories.

On many aspects, women definitely are good agents for social changes:

  1. Education

Traditionally, women in many parts of the world were told to be “homemakers,” to stay home and raise their children. They were not encouraged or even allowed to receive education. Now women receive education as much as men do. With their knowledge and talent, women certainly can provide good guidance for the young generation. In fact, to educate a woman is to educate a family! Women as educators shall emphasize more on ethics and morality so that their children can tell right from wrong and do good things with good heart.

  1. Housekeeping

Women are born to keep house clean and in order, and to prepare meals for family members. Being so they can become green environmentalists. If only they know how to save energy, how to use right materials and how to cook meals nutritious and healthy, they can “save the earth, save our future.” At least “Less meat, less heat,” is the very lesson that women can take and transfer to the whole family members.

  1. Consumption and production

Women made up 85% of consumer choices. About 870 million women around the world enter job market and contribute to world economy. With good income women will become good consumers. More products are designed and marketed specifically for women. Businesswomen tend to start business 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. While he-economy pursuits for self-interest, expansion and exploitation, she-economy reflects a value of humanity, greenness, and benevolence.

  1. War or peace

Looking over the entire human civilization, most wars were initiated by men, yet 100% of victims were women and their beloved husbands and children. Did men ever ask women whether they like wars? Did women ever have the power to prevent wars from happening? In fact, women have been left out of peace-making process and efforts. Not until 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 to link women to the peace and security agenda. It calls for women’s active participation on conflict prevention and resolution, peace processes and peace building and governance. In a word, women are good peace keepers.

  1. Politics

Traditionally, politics is male monopoly cultivated with the patriarchal concept of hard power, to take not to give, and to conquer and occupy, rather than to cooperate and share. Therefore, countries are all crazy about absolute territorial sovereignty. And one’s national interest prevails even at the price of other’s lives and wealth.

In the arena of politics, while he-politics stresses on “hard power,” she-politics elaborates “soft power.” 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. The struggle for hard power is often zero-or even negative-sum game, while the development and sharing nature of soft power is always a positive-sum game. Hard power should no longer be the sole measurement of a country’s success, and soft power will play a more important role in the future. And of course, women are the best player for soft power!

 

Feminization of Power

The time is here for the feminization of power. Imagine that politics is involved with half or more women, and that economic and social development with a half or more women’s participation. What differences, for better or worse, would it become?

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, and the human society has been imperiled by terrorism and injustice between the wealthy and the poor.

To face the unprecedented, multiple challenges coming our way, women have to learn and apply the wisdom of “soft power” instead of “hard power”. My country Taiwan has learned to project soft power, namely, democracy, human rights, love, peace and technological innovation. These values help and facilitate Taiwan’s transformation from a small, poor country under an authoritarian regime and heavy threat from Communist China into a highly developed country with most advanced high-technology and democracy. In the Congress, women occupies 38% of the seats and in terms of gender equality measurement, Taiwan ranks No.1 in Asia and No.2 in the world!

 

To become a good player of soft power, women shall empower themselves, first with their own soft power of mercy, beauty, wisdom and courage. All these come from their independence physically, intellectually, and financially. On the path of seeking power, women need vision and wisdom, determination and devotion based on feminist value and philosophy. Feminization of power is the right way to change the world.

 

Thank you.

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