The United Nations (UN) observes the International Day of the Girl Child every October 11 and is calling for greater investment in, empowerment of and self-determination for girls worldwide so they can attain the rights and care they deserve. This will also advance economic development while eradicating poverty as well as gender violence and discrimination, the UN says.
In response, the ROC government shall commemorate Taiwan Girls Day every October 11 and implement its Action Plan for Enhancement of Girls'Rights.
To determine how to bring the nation in line with international standards, the Executive Yuan has inspected national statistics and found the allocation of benefits and resources for life and health care as well as education largely coincides with the gender ratio of citizens under age 18 (52.1 percent male and 47.9 percent female as of 2012); however, a number of developmental factors unfavorable for girls are apparent, such as lingering traditional cultural chauvinism, withdrawal of girls from school due to pregnancy, girls' relative lack of participation in sports, traditional ideas that certain school subjects are only suitable for boys, and girls being the most frequent victim of sexual crimes.
This March the Executive Yuan moved to address such issues by promulgating the Action Plan for Enhancement of Girls'Rights, which urges agencies to proactively implement policies to advance girls'health, education and physical safety as well as reform traditions, customs and media which reinforce gender stereotypes and discrimination.
The plan, which is also in coordination with the theme of this year's International Day of the Girl Child,“Innovating for Girls'Education,”includes the following measures:
• Enhancing source management of examination reagents and equipment used for gender screening to normalize the sex ratio of newborns
• Including the concept of gender equality in the training courses for child-care staffers and elementary and kindergarten teachers as well as parental and familial education
• Spreading the concept of “zero tolerance for violence”in communities while conducting anti-violence training camps and creative submission contests
• Establishing video conferencing websites that provide youths with correct knowledge about sex and anonymous consultations on romantic relationships and unwed pregnancies
• Setting up help hotlines for unwed and teen pregnancies and conducting youth-friendly medical treatment
• Publishing a book which provides citizens new thinking about and practices for weddings by the end of 2014
A news website dedicated to youths was established in January of this year to improve the general public's ability to determine whether media reports involving children and teens are ethical. Since April, industries have been able to apply for subsidies to conduct media literacy camps.
Funding is also available to civic groups that conduct self-efficacy groups and camps for girls, service programs involving community participation, summits for teenagers, and new-century leadership training camps for senior high school students.
By the end of this year, 40 schools will have received subsidies for equipping unused classrooms with facilities appropriate for physical exercise by girls. During the 2012-2013 school year, rules regulating the participation of boys and girls in physical exercises were amended for each elementary and junior high school class to encourage female students’ involvement and narrow the gender gap in that activity.
The important achievements of the action plan through August 2013 have been posted on the website of the Executive Yuan's Gender Equality Commission (GEC), and the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education are holding Taiwan Girls Day activities to publicize the core concept of the International Day of the Girl Child and promote girls' healthy growth.
The Executive Yuan will continue urging agencies to proactively promote the Action Plan for Enhancement of Girls' Rights to safeguard all the interests and rights of girls and ensure that Taiwanese girls can grow up in an equitable environment and fully realize their potential.