TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (BCCT) held a “Women in the Taiwan Offshore Wind Industry Forum” on Wednesday (Oct. 20), during which the organization presented its study on the subject, highlighting the progressiveness of Taiwan’s job market.
The report examines women’s roles in Taiwan businesses and emphasizes the offshore wind sector, where there is an especially high percentage of women in leadership roles.
“Taiwan is a pioneer of the offshore wind industry within Asia and stands out in terms of gender equality progress,” wrote the BCCT. “Anecdotally, it has been observed that female representation is much higher in Taiwan’s offshore wind sector than in other countries, especially at senior levels,” it added as an explanation of why it conducted the research.
BCCT found Taiwan’s offshore wind industry comprises 26% women, which is higher than the global wind average of 21%, and the Asia Pacific wind average of 15%. Furthermore, “the survey revealed that 95% of offshore wind companies have women line managers and 60% have female directors … exercising significant influence over the development of their companies and the industry as a whole.”
Through anonymous interviews with opinion leaders in the offshore wind industry, the BCCT analyzed what may have contributed to such a phenomenon, and made three conclusions.
“Taiwan has a high social acceptance of women in leadership” especially in contrast to general Asian business culture, wrote the BCCT. Additionally, “there is minimal pure gender-based prejudice in Taiwan.”
“While female executives may still be greeted with surprise when meeting business contacts for the first time, they are usually readily accepted and are judged purely on their competence and ability, rather than their gender,” per the BCCT. Within the offshore wind sector, this applies in traditional, male-dominated industries, such as local suppliers, manufacturers, and construction companies.
The BCCT also cites having “a strong and diverse female talent pool” as a reason for Taiwan’s relative workforce gender equality, since women tend to show strong communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills, and are good with collaboration and patience. Additionally, while both younger generation men and women have shown interest in making “a positive impact on society,” it is especially apparent in women.
However, there is still room for improvement, and the BCCT names “the education of women in technology and engineering subjects,” and “policies to support women with families” as key areas for Taiwan that its offshore wind industry, should address.
Traditionally, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects have been considered more “suitable” for male students because related jobs are usually taken by men. Women also tend to leave the workforce permanently to build a family and would require strong government support to return to work, wrote the BCCT.
On the other hand, while 42% of the Legislative Yuan’s legislators are women, which according to the BCCT is “one of the highest ratios to be found anywhere,” and 37% of Taiwan’s 1.4 million small and medium-sized enterprises are run by women, there is still a 14% gender pay gap, a number that has steadily decreased over the past few decades.