Hakka Affairs Council Gender Equality Promotion Plan (2019-2022)

Hakka Affairs Council Gender Equality Promotion Plan (2019-2022)

1) Overall goals and focuses

i) Strengthen public support for senior society.

ii) Advance gender equality in public and private sector policymaking participation.

iii) Strengthen exploration and promotion of the Hakka ethnic group’s gender culture.

iv) Increase promotion of Hakka cultural customs and rituals with a spirit of gender equality.

v) Foster female Hakka policymaking talent, establish visibility of Hakka women in the public domain.

2) Gender issues, goals and strategies

i) Yuan-level issues

(a) Gender issue 1: Strengthen public support for senior society

1. Importance

 (1) Taiwan’s population is not only aging faster than anywhere else in the world, but the 75-and-over (super-aged) population makes up 43% of the senior population and is rising rapidly. The Ministry of the Interior announced in April 2018 that the proportion of Taiwan’s total population aged 65 and over reached 14.05% in March and the country had officially reached the stage of an “aged society.” Furthermore, according to 2016 estimates by the National Development Council, Taiwan will reach the stage of a “super-aged society” with 20% of the population aged 65 and over (the level currently seen in Sweden) in 2026, and in 45 years the proportion of the senior population will be the highest in the world, at 40%. People aged 75 and over, the group most prone to disability and dementia, will in the next 20 years rise rapidly as a proportion of Taiwan’s 65-and-over population, from 42.7% to 49.2%, and to 60% by the year 2061.

(2) The Council’s 2016 National Hakka Population and Language Survey report showed that the structure of the Hakka population is close to that of the overall population; in both cases the base of the pyramid is narrow, the middle section broader and the peak of the pyramid -- the senior population aged 65 and over -- showing the same narrowing. It may be observed that the development trends are identical (see fig. 1).

Source: Ministry of the Interior, Department of Household Registration, December 2015 population figures, http://www.ris.gov.tw

Fig. 1: Hakka population and total population comparison

Looking at different age groups, the Hakka population aged 60 and above is showing a growing trend year by year, and slightly higher than the overall population. Thus the proportion of seniors in the Hakka population is slightly higher than among the overall population, showing that the Hakka population’s aging issue is more severe (see fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Comparison of overall population vs. Hakka population, broken down by gender and age.

 (3) Looking at the global experience, all countries that have responded to population aging in a sustainable way have most likely begun with concept and policy in lockstep, on one hand strengthening the idea of senior self-sufficiency and on the other hand implementing community and home support services in a timely manner to prevent and defer instances of disability and dementia, allowing society to be more comfortable in old age and to be more relaxed about caring. Another aspect is adjusting the hardware environment and software resources to enhance the opportunities for seniors to take part in society, and to create an environment favorable to multiple generations intermingling. Accordingly, faced with the aging of Hakka village populations, the Council takes this kind of sustainable experience as its reference and hastens the implementation of measures to enhance social participation and raise the level of self-sufficiency, in order to bring leverage to bear on resolving the aging crisis.

2. Situation and issues

 (1) Situation

i) On seniors’ social participation, a 2013 survey from the Ministry of Health and Welfare reported that over 40% of people in the 55-64 age bracket were in paid employment, with women accounting for 29.8% and men 57.2%. Of people aged 65 and over, only 10% were in paid employment, with women accounting for 5.8% and men 15.4%. The proportion of people aged between 50-64 who took part in social activities was 61.4%, of which regular volunteer activity and religious activity made up 13.3% and 12.8% respectively. Relatively more people aged 65 and over took part in regular religious activity. Broken down by gender, 14.8% of women took part in regular volunteer activity, against 11.8% for men. On plans for the future, 21% of people aged 55-64 had started planning for life in their senior years, with plans for “travel,” “voluntary service work,” “continuing to work” and “activities to stay healthy” most often cited. From the gender perspective, “travel” was top for both men and women, while “continuing to work” was second among men and “taking a study course” was second among women.

According to the Council’s observations, seniors should not entirely be seen as a disadvantaged group and should appropriately be allowed to undertake such work and activities as their abilities allow, while society should be encouraged to make use of their abilities and knowledge, assist seniors in self-actualization and raise their self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Accordingly, the Council promotes the organizing of activities suitable for seniors (such as Hakka drama, end-of-winter opera, Hakka folk songs and traditional ba yin music) to expand seniors’ horizons, enrich the value of life and raise the level of living through the appreciation of music, culture and the arts. Statistics show the Council from 2018 has arranged and subsidized around 480 arts and culture activities suitable for seniors. The ultimate goal of planning for an aged society is not to house seniors in care facilities but rather through mutual assistance to create a vibrant community life and to encourage seniors to throw themselves into volunteer service. The Taiwan Hakka Museum (in the north) and Liudui Hakka Cultural Park (in the south) under the Council’s Taiwan Hakka Culture Development Center attach great importance to the resources and role played by volunteers, enlisting retired seniors as park volunteers. Doing work related to helping park visitors, offering guided commentary, administrative assistance, and book information services engenders good feeling among volunteers, allows seniors to express their strengths, builds a sense of achievement and also brings a sense of spiritual reward.

ii) Overview of seniors’ volunteer services

2016 statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Ministry of Culture counted 56,656 people aged 65 and over undertaking volunteer services (men 31%, women 69%), 21% of the whole age ratio. There were 72,093 volunteers aged between 55-64 (men 28%, women 72%), 27% of the total age ratio. Of these, those engaged in cultural volunteer services numbered 6,013 among the 65-and-above age group, of which men made up 32% and women 68%; and 10,045 in the age group 55-64, where men made up 20% and women 80%. Past policy regarding seniors has tended to emphasize the mindset of seniors already experiencing illness or physical or mental infirmity. Policy should now grow to focus on the state of mind of all seniors and assist them to gain positive energy, lift themselves and experience healing for body and mind through becoming involved in volunteer work. People in the middle-aged group of 55 and over, outside of work and retirement, often choose to become volunteers to enrich their life; this group forms the main source of volunteers. These middle-aged people get self-affirmation from being a volunteer and giving back to society. The Council attaches importance to the spiritual development of the volunteers at the Taiwan Hakka Museum and Liudui Hakka Cultural Park and regularly arranges skills training courses and exchange activities for their volunteers. Figures for volunteers over the past five years show the ratio of male volunteers is between 25-27% (26% on average) and female volunteers 72-75% (74% on average). By age group, the ratio of volunteers aged 65 and above is between 17-27% (21% on average). Also considering that the two sites are in relatively remote locations, backup measures have been put in place in order to ensure senior volunteers’ personal safety.

iii) Senior support services environment

Sweden, an aged society, provides universal accessible meeting places for seniors, offering social spaces for able-bodied and disabled seniors to mix. These safe social spaces help seniors to take part in society, to maintain their function and delay physical and mental decline. In contrast, Taiwan offers fewer incentives for senior social participation and social spaces, meaning social opportunities are limited for seniors with imperfect health, minor disabilities or dementia, thus making it hard to universally prevent seniors’ disabilities or dementia from getting worse. Considering that Taiwan is aging at a super-fast rate, universal public support services for seniors should be developed in every community so that preparation is made for the long-term care requirements as the population aged 75 and above expands in the next 20 years.

Accordingly, the 20 Hakka cultural facilities overseen by the Council should year on year improve their accessibility for the benefit of seniors. But a survey shows that of 20 Hakka cultural premises opened up, there are 15 that are licensed for use and five established buildings from before the Building Act was implemented that have yet to make up the license but are used without legal violation. Also, of the aforementioned 15 premises that have obtained licenses for use, there are four that became licensed in the last five years, among them the Miaoli Hakka Academy, that have been renovated in line with current building regulations. The remaining premises, although licensed for use, are very old and need to re-examine the necessity for accessibility and gender-friendly facilities. The other five established buildings, including the Xiao Ru Song Art Park, some are historic buildings and not subject to the Building Act, and some still need proper assessment for using the space; all need to be handled case by case. This means that of the 20 premises overseen by the Council, there are four that are more able to meet current regulations, a ratio of 20%.

(2) Issues

i) Senior participation in social activities needs improvement

According to a Ministry of Health and Welfare report on seniors, in 2013 the proportion of those who had entirely no participation in social activities was 38.6%, higher than the 29.2% in 2009, showing that seniors’ willingness to take part in social activities had dropped or the difficulty of doing so had increased. Accordingly, the Council should push for activities that seniors are interested in and that are convenient, encourage active participation in volunteer service, through learning happiness in old age help seniors develop themselves, create value in their lives and raise their self-confidence.

ii) Unfriendly environments can cause seniors to be unwilling to leave the home or interactive environments can affect seniors’ independence. For example, if large cultural activity exhibition venues are accessible or not, are there convenient and sufficient accessible public transportation services, or if there are sufficient accessible facilities (such as elevators) given the volume and frequency of use. When the environment is inconvenient, seniors have less willingness to leave the house. Accordingly, as only 20% of the 20 Hakka cultural facilities overseen by the Council are more able to meet current regulations, their management should in the future be urged to actively improve accessibility and gender-friendly facilities to strengthen public support for senior society.

3. Gender goals and strategies

Gender goals

Key performance targets (including time frame and target values)


Specific practices

Performance targets (including time frame and target values)

To support seniors’ active participation in society, to raise the concept of self-sufficiency, to delay ageing, to prevent disability, to lessen the burden of care for women.

1. 70% of seniors taking part in social activities.

2. 77% of seniors doing independent outdoor activity.

1. Promote social participation, spread the concept of self-sufficiency.

2. A completely accessible environment (transportation, pedestrian and public spaces).

1. (i) Connect social resources, encourage and invite teachers to arrange activities suitable for seniors.

1. (ii) Continue to recruit volunteers at the Council’s north and south Hakka cultural parks, and regularly hold skills training classes and exchange activities for volunteers; help seniors continue to take part in society, contribute their skills and pass on their life experience.

Press each special municipality, city, county government regarding improving accessibility facilities at Hakka cultural sites that have been subsidized by the Council.

1. (i) Number of events of traditional Hakka arts and cultural activities that are suitable for seniors.

Annual target:

2019: 490

2020: 500

2021: 510

2022: 520

1. (ii) Ratio of volunteers at cultural parks aged 65 and over.

Annual target:

2019: 21%

2020: 21%

2021: 21%

2022: 21%

Ratio of Hakka cultural sites advised on improving accessibility facilities.

Annual target:

2019: 50%

2020: 54%

2021: 58%

2022: 60%

Note: The Hakka Affairs Council oversees 20 Hakka cultural sites.

(2) Gender issues 2: Advancing gender equality in public and private sector policymaking

1. Importance

 (1) Taking part in public affairs, wielding authority and policymaking power doesn’t just concern governance but also concerns the allocation of public resources and individuals’ opportunities to create value in their lives. However, the management of public affairs has long evinced a separation of the genders, with relatively fewer women occupying positions of decision-making; fewer obtain channels or opportunities to take part in decision-making. Accordingly, raising women’s power, policymaking power and influence are the important issues at each United Nations World Women Conference and in formulating policy regarding women.

 (2) The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) emphasizes the importance of equality of opportunity, participation in public life and decision-making. The Convention’s General Recommendation No. 23, Paragraph 13 states that women’s low level of participation in public and political life reinforces their unequal position and thus cannot accomplish democracy in the true sense. Paragraph 16 says research shows that if women’s participation reaches 30-35%, there is a real impact on the content of decisions and political life is revitalized. Paragraph 17 states that women being fully and equally involved in national decision-making contributes to the goals of equality, development and the achievement of peace, as well as assuring true democracy.

2. Situation and issues

 (1) Participation in public policymaking by gender

i) Gender statistics

A)    In July 2017 the proportion of all Executive Yuan agencies where either gender made up at least one-third of members stood at 95.02%, slightly higher than the 94.38% recorded in the previous survey (January 2017).

B)     The Council’s gender ratio attained the one-third of total members gender goal.

ii) Policy approach

A)    Since 2004, the committees of each agency under the Executive Yuan have had to meet the policy goal of neither gender occupying less than one-third of total seats, verified by the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration. Each competent agency regularly reports and, if it has not reached the goal, must explain the reasons and submit a plan for improvement.

B)     The Council’s gender ratio has met the one-third goal but has not yet reached 40%. In  order to raise women’s participation in policymaking, when members’ terms of office come up for renewal, the goal shall be revised upwards to either gender making up at least 40% of total members.

 (2) Issues

Participation in public policymaking has still not achieved the one-third gender ratio policy goal; while there was some initial progress, in recent years the progress has gradually become sluggish, even showing signs of going backwards. Accordingly, the Council took the initiative to raise the goal and verification to push forward the implementation of the policy.

3. Gender goals and strategies

Gender goals

Key performance targets (including time frame and target values)


Specific practices

Performance targets (including time frame and target values)

Continue to raise participation in public agencies by minority gender.

Where the one-third gender ratio target has already been reached, continue to raise the gender ratio.

Discuss related measures or revise related regulations to raise the gender ratio.

The work of the Hakka Affairs Council Gender Equality Promotion Plan (2019-2022) takes the gender ratio of Council members as a key performance indicator, and seeks year on year to adjust the gender ratio upwards to 40% as members’ terms of office come up for renewal.

Annual target values:

2019: Goals reached: 0 Ratio increase: 0%.

2020: Goals reached: 2

Ratio increase: 100%

2021: Goals reached: 0

Ratio increase: 100%

2022: Goals reached: 0

Ratio increase: 100%


 (3) Gender issue 3: Removing gender stereotypes and bias

1. Importance

With generational change and the rise of gender equality awareness, many traditional social values are facing unprecedented challenges; CEDAW’s Article 5 on social and cultural patterns states governments should take all appropriate measures to eliminate prejudices arising from stereotyped roles for men and women, at the same time emphasizing that the upbringing of children is the common responsibility of both fathers and mothers.

2. Situation and issues

 (1) Situation

i) In the past, influenced by the traditional concept of “men are breadwinners, women are homemakers,” women have been seen as natural housekeepers and carers, while men are endowed with the role of feeding the family (breadwinner). As education levels went up, women started to enter the work market but still bore the main responsibility for looking after the home.

ii) According to a 2016 survey on women’s marriage, maternity and employment, for females aged 15 and over with a partner (including cohabitation), average daily unpaid care activity time amounted to 3.81 hours, while their husband (or cohabiting partner) only did 1.13 hours. Women spent 1.54 hours a day taking care of children, seniors and other family members, and 2.19 hours a day on household tasks, reflecting the traditional role still played by women in housework and raising children.

 (2) Issues

i) Many household responsibilities are still born by women, showing Taiwan’s distribution of labor by gender role is still influenced by traditional views.

ii) As society has changed, the forms that marriage and family can take have become more diverse. However, the public has yet to step up its support and recognition of gender diversity (including different sexual orientations and gender identities), as well as diverse forms of families (including single parent, same-sex partners, unmarried cohabitation).

3. Gender goals and strategies

Gender goals

Key performance targets (including time frame and target values)


Specific practices

Performance targets (including time frame and target values)

1. Eliminate bias based on fixed roles for men and women.

2. Make parents understand that raising children is a joint responsibility.

3. Promote public recognition and acceptance of diverse genders and diverse families (including same-sex marriages, single parent families and unmarried cohabitation).

1. Reduce bias based on fixed roles for men and women by 10%.

2. The husbands (or partners) of women aged 15 and over should raise their average daily amount of unpaid care activity time (including looking after children) from 1.13 hours to 1.3 hours.

3. Raise by 10% the degree of public recognition and acceptance of diverse genders and diverse families (including same-sex marriages, single-parent families and unmarried cohabitation.)

Strengthen positive and non-stereotyped portrayals of women in media and advertising.

Request the Public Television Service to include issues of gender equality in their Hakka television programming.

Hakka TV show production content annual targets:

2019: 160 items

2020: 180 items

2021: 200 items

2022: 220 items

2, Ministry-level issues

 (1) Gender issue 1: Strengthen exploration and promotion of Hakka gender culture

1. Importance

 (1) For a long time, traditional cultural norms assigned different roles to men and to women, establishing male and female stereotypes. Different ethnic groups with their particular cultures likewise laid down the responsibilities of different genders. For the Hakka ethnic group, multiple migrations saw men leave their hometowns for work; or the ancient teaching of “geng du chuan jia” (to pass on the family name through planting and study, to be both a farmer and a scholar) saw the menfolk go away in search of fame and honor. This also created the need for Hakka women to be independent and be the family’s main labor provider. Hakka women in addition to being responsible for the home labor traditionally required of women -- bringing up the kids, serving the in-laws, doing the housework -- also had labor outside in the fields, work ordinarily assigned to men in the division of labor. Women in the Hakka ethnic group have borne the dual burden of household labor and production labor in an all-round role, inside and outside the home. This shows the traditional Hakka culture of clannishness and stiffneckedness that has endowed Hakka women with a clear gender role and fixed responsibilities.

 (2) A full exploration of gender culture, apart from providing a basis for critique and influence, adjustment and improvement of traditional group norms regarding different genders, will help Hakka women who have long lacked channels for speaking up and help the search for the group’s collective memory. Gender equality policy platforms encourage looking into the gender cultures of each ethnic group and promoting gender equality education according to the group or region’s characteristics. CEDAW Article 5 also emphasizes modifying the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women to eliminate ideas of superiority and inferiority based on gender; or bias, customs and practices based on stereotyped roles for men and women.

 (3) Accordingly, apart from greater encouragement to explore Hakka female culture, greater impetus is needed on how to implement the suggestions produced by Hakka research related to gender equality; and to advance the development of Hakka women through education and present more up-to-date ideas of Hakka femininity.

2. Situation and issues

 (1) Situation

i) The Council in the past in encouraging all sectors to undertake Hakka academic research, and including gender issues as a priority subsidy target, brought about real growth in the “quantity” of research in Hakka- and gender-related fields; the results however reveal there remains room for improvement. In recent years, in order to deepen and promote the research development of Hakka scholarship (including gender), in addition to the existing research basis and categories, it has been hoped that all sectors can propose integrated, cross-domain, thematic, comparative or systematic research, and by principles of preferential and strict review, improve the “quality” of Hakka research (including gender) and no longer focus on increasing quantity. Accordingly, the future implementation of Hakka gender culture exploration will use policy guidance to encourage research institutions to engage in Hakka research related to gender issues.

ii) To strengthen the promotion of the results of Hakka gender research, these results may be used as educational and publicity materials, to help all sectors recognize Taiwan’s cultural diversity, to break through gender bias, discrimination and stereotypes. These materials will help the Council to guide the public in exploring issues related to gender rights and further examine socially-constructed gender inequality, seeking breakthroughs, to advance the peaceful coexistence of all ethnic groups. Accordingly, the Council through the Hakka e-Learning Center and through the results of gender equality research has set up digital classes to break through gender stereotypes and reshape the image of Hakka women. Through the study of Hakka language are transmitted concepts of male/female equality and eliminating bias based on ideas of gender superiority or inferiority or stereotyped gender roles. Statistics show that from 2016 through November 2018, the Hakka e-Learning Center had in total 10 courses promoting  gender equality concepts, making up 28.6% of the 35 online courses in the most recent three years (more details in the chart below).


Number of courses

Number of courses related to gender

Courses related to gender as a percentage (%) of total

















Statistics up to November 30, 2018

iii) Amid the international trend for promoting equal gender rights, conserving the traditional characteristics of Hakka women of independence and fortitude while constructing a new image of Hakka women for the modern age is one of the most important tasks ahead. As society changes, traditional concepts should change with it, and broadcast media’s flow of information and social education function can include gender equality research results or equal gender rights concepts to promote a gender-conscious Hakka culture, and make the public recognize equal gender rights and diversity of gender. Statistics show that in 2018, there were some 52 broadcasts with a gender issues theme or interview on national Hakka radio and television, thus raising Taiwan’s awareness of gender equality.

iv) Although women have often been present in past Hakka cultural displays, exhibitions have rarely been planned from a gender perspective. With the rise of gender awareness, and to spread the results of gender equality research, a one-off special gender equality exhibition was planned and held at the Taiwan Hakka Museum in 2018. “Girl Power: Representations of Hakka Women” presented to the public in a vivid way the female faces hidden in a society traditionally for men. The exhibition was attended by more than 45,000 people.

 (2) Issues

i) The aggregated results of Hakka academic research related to gender show there are few related data. Meanwhile the promotion and dissemination of important gender research results, and eliminating Hakka ethnic group gender stereotypes, is seldom presented in overall, comprehensive and systematic ways. Accordingly, the Council will enhance the study of Hakka gender culture and will undertake to disseminate its key research results through education and publicity, communication marketing and special themed exhibitions.

ii) The role played by Hakka women in Hakka society, social activities has often been overlooked, while broadcast media seldom puts Hakka women in the spotlight, bringing stories of the Hakka female spirit. Accordingly, the Council hopes to spread gender equality awareness through national Hakka radio and television broadcasters.

iii) As the times evolve, advocacy of gender equality rights is now widely discussed, and while women’s equal rights in law regarding education and marriage are now more or less universal, leading Hakka women to cast off the past role of primary labor provider, this has naturally turned into the ability to take up technological or knowledge-based work. Yet social stereotypes still mean modern Hakka women have to shoulder the double burden of traditional household labor as well as outside work. Accordingly, the Council will take female participants and gender equality research results to hold exhibitions on new impressions of Hakka women.

3. Gender goals and strategies

Gender goals

Key performance targets (including time frame and target values)


Specific practices

1. Strengthen research into Hakka gender culture.

2. Use the main results or aggregated data of gender culture research as educational and promotional materials.

1. Subsidize Hakka research involving gender awareness.

Annual targets:

2019: 2 cases

2020: 3 cases

2021: 3 cases

2022: 4 cases

2. Increase the ratio of Hakka e-Learning Center online courses that promote gender equality concepts as a proportion of that year’s number of courses.

Annual goals:

2019: 29%

2020: 31%

2021: 33%

2022: 35%

3. Number of Hakka broadcasts with a gender awareness theme or interview.

Annual targets:

2019: 57

2020: 180

2021: 200

2022: 220

4. Each year plan at least one special exhibition or workshop on gender equality, exhibiting research and surveys.

1. Through policy guidance, encourage research institutions to undertake Hakka research related to gender issues.

2. Use the results of gender equality research to design digital learning course content that breaks male/female stereotypes; through studying Hakka language convey gender equality concepts; strengthen consensus on gender equality within the Hakka ethnicity.

3. Through broadcast media’s flow of information and social education function, incorporate gender equality research results or equal gender rights concepts, promote Hakka culture with gender awareness.

4. Promote gender equality research results or Hakka culture with gender awareness, through special exhibitions cause the public to reconstruct the collective memory of Hakka women.

1. Use academic subsidy projects to solicit announcements, encourage research bodies to research and cite Hakka research projects with gender awareness, select the best for subsidies.

2. Use gender equality research results to plan digital courses to remodel the image of Hakka women, and through this eliminate ideas of superiority or inferiority based on gender or bias caused by stereotypes of fixed male and female roles; collect Hakka language, history and teaching materials, take into account gender equality principles, avoid reproducing stereotypes.

3. Through national Hakka radio and television, incorporate gender equality research results, equal rights, division of family roles etc. into program themes, and at appropriate times arrange interviews and case stories.

4. Through comprehensive, summarized or serialized forms, present a new-generation image of Hakka women with intelligence, independence and autonomy. Hold exhibitions on this new image, and include female participants’ achievements and the results of gender equality research.

 (2) Gender issues 2: Promoting Hakka customs and rituals with the spirit of gender equality

1. Importance

 (1) Customs are life experiences and formal standards that people have accumulated over a long period of time and present to the outside world. They signify a type of ritual or traditional way of doing things, symbols of the group’s cultural values that are expressed to the outside and contain the duties required of each other for members of the group. The establishment of traditional customs reflects the various internally-established social status power interactions. The behavior expected of each gender role or different treatment based on gender are often subjected to the psychology of fear, that is taboos, to ensure traditional customs’ sustained operation.

 (2) Popular faith and customs, though hard to change in a short period of time, are yet important concepts that affect the daily lives of the mass population. Without thinking in a comprehensive way about related customs and advancing the promotion of ideas, then the results of promoting gender equality among the public will be limited. Accordingly, it is of the utmost importance to actively break the shackles of patriarchal culture and establish cultural customs and rituals without gender discrimination.

 (3) Article 5 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) emphasizes modifying the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women to eliminate prejudices, and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either gender or on stereotyped roles for men and women. Gender equality policy platforms also promulgate eliminating gender discrimination in cultural customs and rituals, placing an emphasis on continuing to examine areas where women are belittled or discriminated against in religious and traditional folk culture’s rituals and concepts, like marriage, funerals, offerings, inheritance and annual festivals; and actively encouraging gender culture that promotes equal rights, as well as guiding and rewarding local governments that promote cultural customs and rituals with the spirit of gender equality.

2. Situation and issues

 (1) Situation

i) The traditional view of Hakka women as being hardworking, courageous and kind, the mainstay of the family, observing the so-called four heads, four tails (si tou si wei), a group of sayings that emphasize the need for Hakka women to be able to do the housework and raise the children, tend the stove and do the cooking, stitch and sew, and also know how to work the land, shouldering work both inside and outside, is something less seen in other ethnic groups. Although traditionally “the man is the master of the home,” in reality it is women who hold up the family.  Apart from life events that women go through like births, marriages and funerals, there are annual customs, the worship of gods and paying respect to ancestors, and daily life rituals that depend on women in order to occur smoothly. Because of this we must understand the significance for gender equality in traditional Hakka customs and rituals, and take a fresh look at the role and status of Hakka women. Drawing out from traditional Hakka culture the cultural essence that accords with the modern spirit of gender equality, making its interpretation up to date, and transforming it into a vital force for modern Hakka ethnicity is an important direction to strive towards.

ii) In order to build cultural customs and rituals without gender discrimination, local governments that receive subsidies should be encouraged to incorporate gender equality practices into their festival activity plans to raise equal gender rights awareness in inherited culture. Taking the large activities subsidized by the Council as a basis, of the 25 applications related to 2018’s 12 Major Festivities of Hakka Villages activities, four of them incorporated gender equality practices, a ratio of around 16%. For example the cakes at the Xin Ding Ban (Rice Cake for Newborns) Festival in Taichung’s Dongshih district did away with the patriarchal ideas of the past in keeping with the spirit of gender equality. Meanwhile the Miaoli Bang Long (Bombing the Dragon) and Guoxing’s Cheng Gong Contest festivities saw women take part in person, a break with many past stereotypes about these festival activities being only for men. The Yimin Festival has advanced gender equality ideas as its religious ceremonies have long had women overseers or local chiefs serve as the attendants or main officiant.

iii)  Substantial action or exploring the significance and meaning of gender participation in traditional culture through Hakka folk rituals and lectures held each year has been helpful to eradicating bias in Hakka customs based on fixed roles for men and women. In 2018 the Council’s Taiwan Hakka Culture Development Center held lectures on rituals, practices and  customs related to Hakka marriage customs in connection with a special exhibition. Each year the Liudui Hakka Cultural Park holds a series of harvest festival activities where in the prelude to the religious ceremony with one main officiant and three to four assistants, the male:female ratio of the assistants is 2:2 or 3:2.

 (2) Issues

i) There are some unequal parts hidden In Hakka customs. From birth to marriage to death, in the past the discrimination displayed in daily customs for a long time suppressed the value and status of women, and also limited their agency. Accordingly, it is necessary to re-examine the significance of gender roles in traditional customs, and from them extract and establish the cultural essence that means gender equality.

ii) In Hakka folk rituals, although women have increasingly taken part year on year, the large majority still focus on men, showing there is still work to do on promoting equal gender rights. Accordingly, substantive action from the Council towards improvement or exploring the significance and meaning of gender participation in traditional culture may year on year eradicate bias in Hakka customs based on fixed gender roles.

Gender goals

Key performance targets (including time frame and target values)


Specific practices

1. Establish cultural customs and rituals without gender discrimination.

2. Eradicate the bias in Hakka customs that comes from fixed roles for men and women.

1. Encourage local governments to promote Hakka customs and rituals with the spirit of gender equality, these should make up at least 16% of all subsidy cases and continue to increase.

Annual targets:

2019: 16%

2020: 20%

2021: 20%

2022: 24%

2. Every year hold Hakka folk ritual activities or lectures at least twice.

1. Actively break the shackles of patriarchal culture, eradicate gender discrimination in cultural customs and rituals.

2. Through substantive action improve or from traditional culture explore the significance and meaning of gender participation.

1. From a gender equality perspective, examine the gender significance in traditional Hakka customs and rituals; endow them with new modern meaning; encourage subsidized festival activity projects to incorporate gender equality practices; invite a committee with gender equality awareness to review the appropriateness of content to raise gender equal rights awareness in imparted culture.

2.In Hakka folk rituals organized by the Council’s Taiwan Hakka Culture Development Center, adjust the gender ratio among the main officiant, assistants and attendants, increase female participation; organize lectures related to Hakka rituals or folk customs.

 (3) Gender issues 3: Cultivating female Hakka policymaking talent, building visibility of Hakka women in public life.

1. Importance

 (1) Taking part in public affairs, holding authority and policymaking power concerns the distribution of public resources. For a long time, women have seldom occupied positions of decision-making, and have seldom had the channels and opportunities to take part in decision-making. This has been a key issue for the UN’s various World Conference on Women events and for formulating policy regarding women.

 (2) Gender equality policy platforms call for an increase in participation opportunities for women, expanding the channels for participation, and establishing the visibility of women and gender disadvantaged groups in public life and the main body politic. Article 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) says States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas of political and public life, and ensure that women in political and public life enjoy equal status as men, emphasizing the importance of equality of opportunities, take part in public life and the formulation of policy.

 (3) The Council’s task that the participation and contribution of women in every field not be less than that of men, and how to cultivate policymaking talent among Hakka women and affirm outstanding women as benchmarks and models, is of the utmost importance.

 (4) In the past there has existed a stereotype in the popular imagination of Hakka people as “invisible” and “silent.” This not only highlights the Hakka trait of “bearing it in silence” but makes the visibility of Hakka women in public life under a traditional patriarchy even more suppressed. In reality, Hakka women have played quite an important role in passing on Hakka culture. And going further to ensure and strengthen the level of decision-making and right to speak up of Hakka women in public life will help encourage them to take part in public life and ensure Hakka women’s equal rights and interests.

2. Situation and issues

 (1) Situation

i) In the Council’s past Hakka contribution awards, the ratio of women on the judging panel has never exceeded 30%; there are fewer women nominees and winners, displaying a gender gap in the allocation of resources.

ii) When the Council has fostered talent in Hakka industries and cultural promotion in the past, the rate of female participation has been over 50%. In the future the results of past fostering should be shown off. Because sudden changes in the global economic environment have increased investment risks, and the willingness to start a business or engage in a niche industry in Hakka settlements is indirectly affected. When it is further considered that the majority of Hakka businesses are micro-enterprises, to expand the results of guidance the Council from 2019 has integrated regional revitalization and adheres to core values of gender mainstreaming. The Council is proactively encouraging investment in female decision-making talent, and assisting female business owners to expand their capacity. But considering the difficulty of raising female talent for Hakka businesses and for local Hakka crafts, therefore the target ratio for fostering female policymaking or specialist business talent is set at 40-45%. Regarding Hakka cultural promotion, there should be further cultivation of female Hakka cultural promotion and speaking talent.

iii) Hakka women have long had an unequal status, so highlighting the rise of women’s rights is an important issue, one that should be promoted through the mass media to break gender stereotypes, establish a new image of women and increase the exposure of women in public life. The Council has drafted the Act for the Establishment of the Hakka Public Communications Foundation (draft) to ensure and increase the ways women can be involved in policymaking.

 (2) Issues

i) For the participation and contribution of Hakka women in any area to not be lower than that of, policymaking talent should be raised and those who display excellence affirmed. Accordingly, the Council will review the evaluation system for Hakka contribution awards to encourage Hakka women to enter.

ii) As women’s participation in the Council’s fostering of Hakka industry and cultural promotion talent is higher than that of men, it can be seen that Hakka women actively take part in social affairs and should guide the further development of female talent and occupy policymaking positions. Accordingly, the Council will review the results of past talent cultivation, make adjustments to the system, incorporate core values of gender mainstreaming to enhance the results of cultivating female Hakka talent and raising women’s visibility.

iii) Hakka groups have a relative lack of communication channels, which can cause structural problems such as gaps in the use of the group language and a weakening of group identity. Especially for Hakka women where the right to speak up has traditionally been suppressed and without clear channels, where the ratio of their involvement in media is inadequate, means a breakthrough is desperately needed regarding the visibility of talented Hakka women in public life. Accordingly, the Council drafted the Act for the Establishment of the Hakka Public Communications Foundation (draft), which states that the ratio of either gender among board members and supervisors may not be less than one-third. The ratio is to rise to 40% at the end of current terms of office.

3. Gender goals and strategies

Gender goals

Key performance targets (including time frame and target values)


Specific practices

1. Affirm and reward outstanding women, cite them as examples, benchmarks and models.

2. Raise women’s industrial competitiveness, design strength and marketing strength, cultivate to serve as cadres.

3. Ensure a ratio of women on the board, oversight committee of the Hakka Public Communications Foundation.

4. Strengthen Hakka women’s cultural right to speak out, increase the ratio of women getting into the mass media industry.

1. Hakka contribution award judging panels should have a gender ratio of not less than one-third.

Annual targets:

2019: 33%

2020: 33%

2021: 33%

2022: 33%

2. Ratio of women being cultivated for Hakka village special industries.

Annual targets:

2019: 40%

2020: 40%

2021: 45%

2022: 45%

3. Board and supervisors of Hakka Public Communications Foundation should have a gender ratio of not less than one third, rising to 40%.

Annual targets:

2019: 33%

2020: 33%

2021: 33%

2022: 40%

4. Ratio of women in internships and related cultivation projects:

Annual targets:

2019: 50%

2020: 50%

2021: 50%

2022: 50%

1. Strengthen publicity and encourage Hakka women to compete in Hakka contribution awards, to raise the rate of participation and winning awards, establish gender balance on the award committees.

2. Actively foster and support female talent in the transmission, marketing and promotion of Hakka village industries and crafts.

3. Through the passage of the Act for the Establishment of the Hakka Public Communications Foundation, set the gender ratio for the board and supervisors.

4. Take a foundational approach to fostering female Hakka promotion and speaking talent.

1. Improve the design of publicity materials to encourage women to compete. Implement gender equality on evaluation panels, according to the one-third gender ratio standard, incorporate the ideas and experiences of those of different genders.

2. According to local Hakka villages’  industry development characteristics or potential, encourage women to take part in industry recovery and cultivate them to serve as cadres through arts and crafts support, observation exchanges, community design, competition prize mechanisms and related industry guidance measures, to raise the competitiveness, design strength and marketing strength of Hakka village specialized industries.

3. Ensure the ratio of Hakka board members and supervisors of the Hakka Public Communications Foundation be not less than half and the ratio of either gender be not less than one third. The terms of office for board members and supervisors are three years, the ratio of women should be raised to 40% at the end of these terms.

4. Increase cooperation with universities, organize internships for the students and post-study support projects, cultivate female related youth support plans, train female promotion and speaking talent.

 Consult, verify and reward

The Council will reward those who achieve the best results in implementing this plan.