The picture above is of my lovely maternal grandmother in 1951, around the time she graduated from teacher’s college in Taipei. My grandma recently went to her 60th class reunion! Isn’t that amazing? She was dealt many challenges in life, but faced all of them with grace and endurance. My grandma is a wonderful woman, with a wicked sense of humor, and I am proud to be her granddaughter. I am lucky that all my life, I have been surrounded by strong female role models and a family that never, ever made me feel like being a girl meant I was weaker or had less potential.
Today is the 100th International Women’s Day (國際婦女節) and a good time to reflect on the strides that women over the world have made over the past century — and the obstacles we still face. In Taiwan, a third of women are the primary breadwinners in their households. But while they have more economic clout, Taiwanese women still face many challenges, including misogynist attitudes in the workplace and from family members. Foreign workers from southeast Asia are mostly female and when something like the row between the governments of the Philippines and Taiwan happens, it hits them especially hard.
Since moving here, I’ve become very interested in learning about the feminist movement in Taiwan. Unfortunately, English language literature on the topic is hard to come by. The only book I’ve found so far is Doris T. Chang’s “Women’s Movements in Twentieth-Century Taiwan” (which I am looking forward to reading). I’m also interested in reading more about feminism from an Asian-American perspective (as anyone who is interested in American women’s studies knows, a lot of the literature focuses on the experiences of white, middle-class women. Seriously, I’ll read certain books or articles and feel like I don’t even exist). If you have any recommended reading, please let me know!