Taipei (Taiwan News)—Despite the cold weather and occasional drizzle, nearly 200 protesters turned up at the Women’s March in Taiwan convened by Indivisible Taiwan founder Mary Goodwin and other local women rights group to raise awareness of gender equality and LGBTI rights, Wednesday.
"Taiwan missed out on the global Women’s March protest in January 2017, where 5 million people participated, so we hope to raise awareness on gender equality and join the march this time around,” said artist Crystal Liu, one of the six organizers of the rally. “Global women rights are human rights.”
"We hope people be bold for change," added Liu.
The emphasis of the march is aimed at raising awareness on gender equality rather than protesting against U.S. President Donald Trump’s chauvinistic remarks that have offended women worldwide.
"It shows solidarity for women’s rights worldwide, so it shows for gender equality, pay equality, rights to education for all women, freedom from abuse and any form of minimalizing”, said Goodwin, who is also an English Professor at National Taiwan Normal University.
Mary Goodwin, founder of Indivisible Taiwan. (Taiwan News)
The founder of Indivisible Taiwan, an arm of U.S. women’s right movement Indivisible, noted its Facebook group membership mushroomed over the past month from four members to 730 in the past month.
Having been in Taiwan for decades, Goodwin, noted that the education and occupation gap among Taiwanese women compared to the U.S. was minimal, but attitudes towards working women's roles needs to change, and women are still expected to shoulder all the household chores after a long day of work.
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator, Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), said recent statistics compiled by Job Bank 1111 showed women's participation in the workforce reached 50.6 percent in 2016, but a large number of women traded in their careers for family life once they had children.
The majority of protesters were students from Taipei American School (TAS) joined by their parents, while many men also appeared at the event to show their support. Some international expats at the rally were from U.S., Belgium, France, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland and India.
Ebede Ndi, a U.S. citizen with Cameroon origins shows support for gender equality. (Taiwan News)
"I am just here to support women," said Ebede Ndi, a man originally from Cameroon before becoming a U.S. citizen.
Ndi, who has been in Taiwan for six months to start a consultancy and training business in advanced education comes from a family of five sisters that influenced his decision to support women’s rights movements.
"I think it is important for my children to participate and understand the issue at stake," said Priya Lawluani Purswaney, an Chinese-English interpreter from India that has spent three decades in Taiwan, who was joined by her daughter and son at the march.
French protester Maria Correia, who knitted the pink beanies protesters wore at the rally, noted while the focus was not on Trump, she did not like his policies on women, gender equality and immigrants.
Pop-singer Lara, Kuomingtang (KMT) legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁), lawmakers from ruling Democratic Progressing Party (DPP) Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Karen Yu (余宛如), also made a special appearance at the event.