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Taiwan's Tsai described as strong-willed, like Hillary Clinton

Taiwan's Tsai described as strong-willed, like Hillary Clinton

Tsai Ing-wen, who is running in the presidential race in Taiwan, was described during a think tank conference on Asian women's leadership Tuesday as a politician like Hillary Clinton of the United States, both of whom are said to have a steady will.

Like Clinton, who is running in the U.S. Democratic Party presidential primaries, Tsai has suffered defeat once in her efforts to seek the presidency, said Doris Chang, an associate professor of women's studies at Wichita State University, in the conference organized by the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

However, they both have a steady will. If they fail, then they'll just try again, according to Chang.

The scholar also mentioned that Taiwanese women's status in politics and their opportunities to get jobs in public service have increasingly improved over the past several years.

At present, 34 percent of lawmakers are female, and 25 percent of government officials are women, she noted.

The topic of the conference was the challenges and opportunities facing East Asian female leaders and high-ranking managers. Tsai, the chairwoman and presidential candidate of Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, was mentioned due to her current lead in polls over her two main rivals.

Tsai is widely anticipated to win the presidential election of Jan. 16, 2016, which will make her the first woman president in Taiwan's history.

In Asia, there have been several women who are serving or who have served as head of state, including incumbent South Korean President Park Geun-hye, former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, and former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

At the conference, Wenchi Yu, head of corporate engagement at Goldman Sachs, said it is common for women to participate in politics in Asia.

However, in view of business and economic development, the potential of the so-called "womenomics" has not yet been completely realized there, she said.

The term "womenomics" refers to a theory linking the advancement of women to increased development rates.

Yu, born in Taiwan in the 1980s, has served as an official responsible for East Asian women's affairs in the U.S. Department of State during the period when Clinton was secretary of state.

Citing statistics, she said that in Asia, 6 percent of corporate board seats were held by women. The corresponding figure in Europe was 17 percent, and 10 percent in the United States.

Goldman Sachs surveys have found that the dearth of women in the labor market is one of the reasons why Japan's economy has been unable to move forward, Yu said.

If Japanese women were on the equal footing with men in the workplace, Japan could be expected to generate an additional rise of 12 percent for its economic growth by 2030, she said. (By Rita Cheng and Elizabeth Hsu)

Updated : 2021-09-19 01:19 GMT+08:00