8% of Taiwanese women do not return to work after parental leave, data shows

Those returning worry about wage gap, glass ceiling, lack of support from coworkers

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(Getty Image photo)

(Getty Image photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Mother's Day nears in Taiwan, a local women's group is pointing out that discrimination against working mothers is still very real, with 8 percent of women in the country not returning to their jobs after parental leave.

According to a recent poll, the main reason for Taiwanese women remaining out of the workforce after giving birth is that their jobs have often been taken by the time they are ready to return.

Taiwan is doing better with gender equality in the workplace than other Asian nations, but the Garden of Hope Foundation drew attention on Wednesday (May 6) to the reality that the gender wage gap and glass ceiling, however improved, still remain serous issues in the country.

Women in Taiwan tend to take primary responsibility for childcare; up to 83 percent of those who took parental leave in 2018 were women.

After returning to the workplace, working women still tend to take on the bulk of household chores and childcare duties. While grappling with these stressful conditions, working mothers may also have to contend with coworkers who are unsympathetic to their underpaid and overworked plight, according to another survey by a job bank.

There are, however, some companies that are dedicated to eliminating the gender wage gap and creating a workplace friendly to women and mothers. Diageo Taiwan Inc., for example, has since 2018 been offering training for its female workers in frontline sales to protect themselves from sexual harassment; this year, the company continued to advocate for gender equality in the workplace with more training, better parental leave (26 weeks of full-pay), and strong female participation in leadership roles.

Outside of its offices, the company continues to sponsor initiatives to empower women in Taiwan in keeping with the United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles.

In 2013, Diageo Taiwan funded a three-year program encouraging female immigrants to the country to learn Mandarin Chinese as well as Taiwanese culture while developing skills to advance their careers. In recent years, Diageo funded events and campaigns to raise awareness of women's issues and improve workplace communication surrounding these important matters.