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Women thrive in Taiwan's diplomatic service

Women thrive in Taiwan's diplomatic service

Women thrive in Taiwan's diplomatic service

Taiwan has seen a record number of female diplomats this year, with nine of the nation’s diplomatic missions are headed by women diplomats, the most at any one time in Taiwan's diplomatic history, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

At present, MOFA has women representatives in Germany, Austria, Finland, Norway, Melbourne (Australia), New York (U.S.), Edinburgh (U.K.), Toronto (Canada), and to the World Trade Organization in Switzerland, the ministry said.

MOFA regulations stipulate that officials working in the ministry must work in foreign embassies or missions after serving in Taiwan for three to five years. They have to serve abroad for at least six years and then wait for the next transfer.

"A few decades ago, female diplomats were regarded as anomalies," Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin said, adding that he hopes women can play a greater role in the Foreign Service in the coming future.

Prior to 1996, the ministry had a restriction on the number of women admitted to the national examination. But the rule has since been relaxed due to changing of the times.

“It is quite a challenge for women who are determined to become career diplomats," Lin explained. “The instability attendant to this lifestyle is demanding on all diplomats, but even more so on female ones.”

The foreign minister pointed out that Taiwan has made great progress on gender equality in all fields, including government, saying he hopes to see the nation’s first female foreign minister in the distant future.