The Experts call upon the Government to ensure that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and related domestic legislation are made an integral part of education and training for all government agencies, members of the legal profession, law enforcement officers and the judiciary and education for the elimination of negative stereotypes in society.



The human rights education curriculum for Taiwanese schools highlights for the most part the history and structure of the international human rights system without sufficient focus on the human rights values and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two Covenants. The Experts also regret that gender equality is classified as a separate “issue” from human rights in the listing of the “7 disciplines” in the curriculum for years 1-9.




In a statement adopted by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in May 2011, the Committee called on States to include in their initial and periodic reports challenges faced and measures taken in relation to the role and the impact of the corporate sector on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.  This may affect labour conditions, trade union rights, housing rights, the position of female workers and migrant workers, but also land rights and environmental rights, domestically and extraterritorially.




It is generally accepted that the provisions of the Covenants relating to gender issues need to be interpreted in line with the jurisprudence under CEDAW. The Experts commend the Government of Taiwan for having ratified CEDAW, enacting laws and policies for the promotion of gender equality, and establishing the Gender Equality Department. The challenge now is to achieve effective implementation and monitoring of these various initiatives and create a social environment conducive to women’s rights. The Experts recommend that the Government takes comprehensive measures to ensure that knowledge of the rights of women under CEDAW, its concept of substantive gender equality and indirect discrimination, including the obligation to accelerate de facto equality through the use of temporary special measures in all areas, as well as the CEDAW Committee’s general recommendations, are well-known in society in general, and among all branches of the Government and the judiciary at all levels.  It should be applied by all branches of Government as a framework for all laws, court verdicts and policies on gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights.



The Experts therefore recommend: (i) the enactment of comprehensive legislation covering all fields of gender equality, with a view to implementing gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting; (ii) the adoption of more systematic temporary special measures to accelerate de facto equality of women; (iii) the elevation of the Gender Equality Department to a higher status so that it has the power, authority and budget to enable it to effectively carry out its mandate in data collection, gender impact assessment, and the formulation and implementation of policies on gender equality.



The Experts note reports that transgender persons are widely considered to suffer from a form of mental illness and that persons with gender identities different from their biological sex, suffer many forms of discrimination, including bullying in schools. During the dialogue with government representatives, the Committee observed that the dominant perspective is that gender identity is solely about sexual orientation. This was also evident in the description of gender equality education offered in schools.



The Experts recommend that Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (MOE) take the lead in developing and implementing effective information and awareness-raising initiatives on the equal right of everyone regardless of gender identity, to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. In particular the MOE should ensure the implementation of the Gender Equality Education Act by requiring schools to undertake targeted measures for the protection and promotion of the rights of students who are marginalized and disadvantaged because of their gender identities. The Experts urge the MOE to develop appropriate educational materials with a view to addressing homophobic biases that affect students’ perceptions of gender identities other than their own.




Considering the high level of economic development of Taiwan and the high level of education of women, the Experts are concerned that the employment rate of women is as low as 48%. They note that women’s responsibility for childcare is one of the main reasons for their low rate of employment.



The Experts urge the Government of Taiwan to take measures to increase the employment rate of women. They recommend that the government undertake studies into the situation of women’s employment, the workplace environment and their responsibility at home as the primary caregiver for the family members.




The Experts are concerned about the high pregnancy and abortion rates amongst female adolescents. While noting that the Government is taking various steps at all levels of government to provide sex education programmes for adolescents, the success of such measures has not yet been evaluated.



The Experts recommend that evaluations of sex education programmes for female and male adolescents, and the effects of such measures on the incidence of early pregnancy and abortions amongst female adolescents be evaluated regularly and that an institution be entrusted with that monitoring task.



The Experts are concerned about the life situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. As in many other countries, such persons frequently face exclusion, marginalization, discrimination and aggression by large parts of the general population, and in schools, resulting in high suicide rates and physical and mental health problems.



The Experts recommend that health care personnel, amongst them doctors, nurses and other hospital staff and teachers at all levels of education be trained regularly on the full respect of human rights of LGBTI persons. They furthermore recommend that public information campaigns in the mass media be developed.




The Experts note that under the law the minimum age of marriage for men is 18 and the age for women is 16. The Experts consider this age difference to be discriminatory in violation of various provisions of the ICCPR, CEDAW and the CRC, and therefore recommend that the law on the minimum age of marriage be amended to raise the minimum age of marriage of women to 18.



The Experts express their appreciation of the numerous initiatives such as reporting systems, domestic prevention offices, and hotlines to address violence against women in the country, especially domestic violence. It notes that most of these initiatives are the responsibility of the police. The Experts  however are concerned that there is inadequate data on the  prevalence, cause and effects of domestic violence  and that there is a need to ensure comprehensive coverage of the initiatives concerned as well as for monitoring and assessment of the impact of the initiatives. The Experts recommend that the impact of the initiatives be assessed and on the basis of this assessment a comprehensive plan be developed to address domestic violence by adopting an interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach. They also recommend that national data is collected to assess the prevalence cause and effects of domestic violence.  They further recommend that the Government bases all efforts to address violence against women on General Comment 19 of the CEDAW Committee and other relevant international human rights standards.



The Experts are concerned at the lack of legal recognition of the diversity of families in the country and that only heterosexual marriages are recognized but not same sex marriages or cohabiting partnerships. This is discriminatory and denies many benefits to couples of same sex or cohabiting partners. The Experts express their concern that the Government plans to conduct a public survey before it amends the law to recognize the diversity of families.  The Government has an obligation to fulfill the human rights of all people and not make such fulfillment contingent on public opinion.



The Experts recommend that the Civil Code be amended to give legal recognition to the diversity of families in the country. They also recommend gender equality and gender diversity awareness and education be conducted without delay to society in general and in schools in particular.



On the issue of abortion, Taiwanese domestic legislation requires that a pregnant woman needs to obtain the consent of her husband and, depending on the circumstance, that of other family members. The Experts recommend that the legislation be amended so as to enable a pregnant woman to decide for abortion of her own free will.