Women leaders
Women's organizations


Dr. Sun Yat-sen founded the Republic of China in 1912. Following the communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. 

The island of Taiwan, situated off the southeast coast of China and separated from the Chinese mainland by the Taiwan Strait, is located in the Western Pacific between Japan and the Philippines. With a total area of about 36,000 square kilometers, the island is 394 kilometers long and 144 kilometers at its widest point. 

With the exception of over 402,000 indigenous peoples, the population of Taiwan is composed almost entirely of Han Chinese. Early Han Chinese immigrants, or "Taiwanese," are of two groups: the Hakka, mostly from Guangdong Province; and the Fujianese, from China's southeastern coastal province of Fujian. These two groups comprise about 85 percent of the Han population, with the Fujianese outnumbering the Hakka by about three to one. The last group of immigrants came from various parts of China with the ROC government to Taiwan in 1949. They are generally referred to as "mainlanders," and account for less than 15 percent of the Han population. Intermarriage between all four groups--indigenous peoples, Hakkas, Fujianese, and mainlanders--is quite common, so the distinguishing characteristics of these groups have become fainter with the passage of time.  

Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities (Nationalists) gradually democratized and incorporated the native population within its governing structure. Throughout this period, the island has prospered to become one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The ROC is now the world's 14th largest trading nation, and ranks third globally with over US$113 billion in foreign exchange reserves. Innovative and high-quality "Made in Taiwan" products are sold around the world. Electronics and information technology products now account for 20 percent of manufacturing values. In 1999, the service sector (finance, commerce, transportation, etc.) employed the largest share of the workforce at 54.5 percent.

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Women in politics, governance and decision-making

The Constitution provides for equal rights for women, and, while still underrepresented, their role in government and politics is increasing. 

In March 2000, a woman for the first time was elected vice president (Annette Lu), and nine women are members of the Cabinet, including the Minister of Interior and the Chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council. Two of 29 Control Yuan members are women. A number of women also hold important political party positions. Two of the 11 members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Central Standing Committee are women, as are 11 of the Kuo Min Tang's (KMT) 31 Central Standing Committee members.

In the recently concluded Legislative Yuan elections on 01 December 2001, women cornered 22% of the seats or a total of 50 winning women candidates.

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Important political facts

Government type: multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly elected president
Head of state: President, directly elected by universal adult suffrage. The incumbent is Chen Shui-bian, who took office on May 20, 2000. The president’s term of office is four years and can be re-elected once.
Legislature: Unicameral. The Legislative Yuan (Li-fa Yuan) has 225 seats - 168 elected by popular vote, 41 elected on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected from overseas Chinese constituencies on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected by popular vote among the aboriginal populations. Its members serve three-year terms. While the National Assembly (ceremonial body) has 300 seats whose members are elected by proportional representation based on the election of the Legislative Yuan and serve four-year terms.
Executive: The head of the government is the Premier, who is responsible to the Legislative Yuan. The incumbent is Chang Chun-hsiung. The Executive Yuan (Cabinet) is responsible to the Legislative Yuan
Most recent elections
Presidential: March 18, 2000
Legislative: December 1, 2001 (Legislative Yuan)
Next elections
Presidential: March 2004
Legislative: December 2004 (Legislative Yuan)

Political parties

Democratic Progressive Party
Number of seats in the Legislative Yuan: 87
Address: 30 Peiping E. Road, 10F, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel 886-2-392-9989
Fax 886-2-393-0342

Number of seats in the Legislative Yuan: 68
Number of seats in the Legislative Yuan: 46


Political links

Other relevant links

Sources and related links
Women in Taiwan
Important political facts
Political links
Other links