PRESENTATION BY MS. CHUN FANG HSU, Chinese Taipei

28/03/2007
Business operation modes have changed dramatically due to trade liberalization, globalization and the development of the knowledge-based economy. These changes have in turn changed the kinds of employment and start-up venture opportunities for women, so that women can play a bigger role than before in economic and social development.

 I.Preface

1. Business operation modes have changed dramatically due to trade liberalization, globalization and the development of the knowledge-based economy. These changes have in turn changed the kinds of employment and start-up venture opportunities for women, so that women can play a bigger role than before in economic and social development.

A.Trade liberalization and globalization have greatly improved Chinese Taipei women’s status in the workplace.

B.Trade liberalization and globalization have created even more job opportunities for women in Chinese Taipei, and it is expected that even more opportunities will be found in services after that sector is liberalized further.

C.With trade liberalization and globalization, social and welfare policies and programs have been gradually improved, and this has also made it possible for women to have more time and energy to participate in economic activities.

D.The development of the knowledge-based economy helps strengthen women’s capacity building and upgrades women’s competitiveness in the job market, so that they can benefit from the development of trade and economy more easily.

 

2. Is there any improvement in the environment for women to find jobs or start businesses as a result of trade liberalization and globalization?

A.As a result of universal education, increased awareness of the idea of gender equality, and the increasing importance of the service industry within our broader economic structure, women in Chinese Taipei are now better able to start businesses.

B.The percentage of Chinese Taipei female entrepreneurs in start-up ventures increased from 12.7% in 1993 to 16.6% in 2003. The percentage of female business owners increased from 10.15% in 1978 to 15.14% in 2003. The percentage of self-employed women grew from 15.79% in 1978 to 22% in 2003.

C.The percentage of female entrepreneurs receiving bank loans to start up SMEs has also seen considerable growth. As a result of the “Youth Entrepreneurial Loan” and “Microenterprise Entrepreneurship Loan” programs, the percentage increased from 38.66% in 2003 to 42.67% in 2005.

D.The percentage of households in which women are the primary income providers grew from 19.6% in 2001 to 21.2% in 2003.

E.The salary gap between male and female workers has seen a substantial reduction. In the service and industrial sectors, for example, women’s average salaries as a percentage of men’s average salaries increased from 67.8% in 1991 to 78.73% in 2005. In the financial sector, it went from 68.39% to 84.25% in the same period.

3. Has the gender sensitive legal environment improved following globalization?

In recent years, Chinese Taipei has been making the following efforts to upgrade women’s socio-economical status:

A.The Public Assistance Act was put into effect in 1980.

B.The Commission of Women Rights Promotion, acabinet-level task force, was set up o­n May 6, 1997.

C.The Domestic Violence Prevention Law went into effect in 1998, and in 2000, the Act of Assistance for Women in Hardship went into effect.

D.The Gender Equality in Employment Act went into effect o­n January 16, 2002, and relevant revisions to the Labor Standards Act were promulgated o­n December 25, 2002.

E.The Gender Equity Education Act was promulgated o­n June 23, 2004.

F.At present, a “Cultural Innovation Industry Development Act” is being drafted to assist the development of SMEs, non-profit organizations, NGOs, and women’s organizations that hire and involve more women, and to include these into the government’s industrial guidance system.

 

4. How should women entrepreneurs be assisted so they can create global business networks?

A.Support capacity building for women exporters:

-Provide market information for women exporters that fits their needs.

-Provide export assistance and incentives.

-Assist women to overcome export barriers.

-Increase the ration of women enterprise in trade sector.

B.Build a sound legal environment:

-Integrate laws, regulations and mechanisms of concern to women.

-Encourage women’s participation in economic activities.

-Upgrade the level at which governmental decisions o­n women’s affairs are made.

C. Establish platforms for information exchange:

-Set up business networks for women entrepreneurs to strengthen information exchange.

 

II. The developing achievements of female entrepreneurs in Chinese Taipei

1.Chinese Taipei has in recent years attached considerable importance to the development of businesses led by women. According to statistics compiled by our tax authorities, the total number of SMEs in Chinese Taipei in 2005 was 1.22 million, and that accounts for 97.8% of all companies. SMEs employed 7.648 million people, or 79.9% of the total workforce, and they generated approximately NT$10 trillion in sales, or 29.5% of all sales by all businesses. Among the SMEs, 29.7% were owned by women. This is a far higher rate than for female-owned large enterprises (17.0%).

2.Female bosses tend to invest more heavily in trade, hotels, restaurants, educational services, and chain stores. More and more of them are also investing in the agriculture-leisure industry, New-economy services industries, cultural creative industry, and community-style services.

3.The development of ICT related industries has also been an important factor in assisting the growth of businesses led by women. Many important multinational ICT firms like HP, IBM, Microsoft and Trend, have women in the CEO and other top executive positions. This trend has had the effect not o­nly of increasing women’s ICT education levels and participation rates but has also encouraged the further promotion of women into top managerial positions. Furthermore, within the larger metropolitan areas, the opportunities for female entrepreneurs and female self-employment in the ICT industry have increased. Consequently, such businesses have tended to concentrate in our cities.

4.Chinese Taipei’s measures and policies relating to women entrepreneurs

a.Chinese Taipei provides training courses o­n management, finance, accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurial skills. o­ne such program is the National Youth Commission’s “Flying Goose Project,” which consists of a series of activities designed to cultivate female entrepreneurs through a gradual, step-by-step process. They cover topics such as advance business planning, market surveys and evaluations, procedures to be followed in setting up a business and other practical tasks, and they include visits to businesses run by women. There is also a business incubation course. In other words, the program is designed to provide female entrepreneurs with all the information they need, solutions to various problems they might encounter, and so o­n.

b.To a large extent, building women’s entrepreneurial capacity in a knowledge-based economy is being done through the regular education system, but in addition to that, efforts have been made to combine government and private training resources to improve women’s knowledge of ICT technology, in the hope that this will enhance their ability to take part in the development of this important segment of our economy.

c.We are also making it easier for female entrepreneurs to obtain business loans. Steps in this area have included approving the “Guidelines for Micro-enterprises Start-up Loans,” relaxing the restrictions o­n the types of enterprises eligible for such loans, and so o­n.

d.The Commission o­n Women’s Rights Promotion was set up under the Executive Yuan. This Commission works to ensure that the various agencies of government take gender factors into consideration during the policy formulation process, and that the concept of gender equality is promoted throughout the education system. It is expected that this effort through the education system will eventually do much to improve women’s social status and entrepreneurial capability.

5.Our statistics indicate that the net number of women attending higher education institutions has increased dramatically. In 1980, this percentage was o­nly 10.25% in the age of 18 to 21, but in 2005 it was 61.06%. This is seven percentage points higher than the corresponding rate of 54% for men in 2005. Clearly, the improvement in women’s education levels means that their “human resource quality” and entrepreneurial skills are also improving.

 

III. Obstacles for women’s participation in global business networks

1.The persistence of traditional Chinese concepts and perceptions concerning women means that gender bias is not something that comes purely from men: women themselves often subscribe to such concepts, while lacking the courage to upend tradition.

2.The scale of businesses managed by women is generally smaller and less competitive o­n international markets. There are also obviously fewer women than men in business.

3.The difficulties that women have in obtaining business start-up loans are similar to those faced by women in other APEC member economies.

4.Women’s relative lack of access to business and financial information often leads later o­n to obstacles in business development.

5.Progress in our society also entails rapid shifts in the overall business environment, so that just “keeping up” is difficult.

6.There are also obstacles created by certain laws and regulations, including, for example, zoning laws in urban areas. Another barrier is presented by regulations concerning the application for various licenses—many of these have not kept pace with the times.

 

IV. Recommended Actions

1.It has been Chinese Taipei’s experience that trade liberalization boosts economic growth, women’s status, and employment opportunities. Therefore, we should continue to support trade and investment liberalization under the APEC framework and expect that it will lead to economic growth worldwide, greater employment opportunities for women, and better legal environments for women.

2.A women’s information exchange platform should be set up under the APEC framework. With the easier exchange of such information, women in APEC member economies will have more opportunities to learn from o­ne another. They will also be better able to create a more gender-sensitive legal and business environment.

3.To resolve the difficulty of female entrepreneurs raising their initial capital, governments should offer them beneficial terms o­n loans or provide seed capital or venture funds. o­nce female entrepreneurs have successfully obtained their first financing, their overall rate of success will also improve.

4.There should be a closer linkage between proposals to elevate women’s economic status o­n the o­ne hand and a member economy’s industrial policies and progress o­n trade talks o­n the other. Of special concern in this regard is the position of women working in the agricultural and service sectors, where they tend to be numerous. During the liberalization process, capacity-building efforts should be directed toward them, especially the micro-enterprises that tend to employ many women to reduce adverse impacts of market-opening measures.

5.When governments are setting and implementing policies of concern to women in business, particularly in the area of start-up loans and funds, they could enhance cooperation with private sector institutions such as banks and non-profit organizations. This would better integrate public and private sector resources, and the participation of the private sector could more directly resolve the problems that women in business face.

6.When governments formulate policies of concern to women, they should also set long-term goals and visions. There should also be goals to be reached at various stages, together with relevant plans and measures to reach them, so as to ensure that women’s status in the home, society, and economy is elevated.

7.To build up women’s export capacity, women business leaders and managers should be encouraged to get involved in international trade fairs by, for example, forming women’s delegations to these fairs. Furthermore, in line with member economies’ industrial policies and development status, governments should assist women business leaders to establish their own brand-name products and to formulate integrated marketing strategies that enhance their competitiveness in international markets.

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