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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Professor Stephan Feuchtwang
s.feuchtwang@lse.ac.uk

Dr Fang-Long Shih
f.shih@lse.ac.uk

"One in a Skirt [i.e. a Woman] is not Suitable to Be in Charge of the Army, Navy, or Air Force [i.e. the Nation]": Further reflections on the significance of the Taiwan 2016 election, from the viewpoint of gender and feminism

Panel discussion  on "What does the Taiwan 2016 Election Signify?"

Series:  Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective

Date: Monday 22nd February 2016, 6–8pm

Venue: Seligman Library, 6th Floor, Old Building, LSE

Chair: Stuart Thompson (SOAS)

Panellists: Dr Fang-long Shih (LSE), Dr Ming-yeh Rawnsley (European Association of Taiwan Studies)

All are welcome to attend

Abstract (1) by Fang-Long Shih

Following the outcome of Taiwan's 2016 Presidential Election, the Apple Daily ran a headline announcing: "Tsai Ing-wen has been elected as the first female President in the Chinese world". This election is significant not only in Chinese history, but also in the context of the continuing advancement of women's rights around the world since the nineteenth century. In the UK, the suffragette movement for women's right to vote, properly called the Women’s Social and Political Union, had its headquarters on the site where Tower 3 of the London School of Economics (LSE) now stands, and there is today a plaque to commemorate the spot. Members of the Fabian Movement, which founded the LSE in 1895, were dedicated to gender and social equality; they interacted with leading suffragettes such as Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst, and documents relating to the movement are now collected in the Women’s Library at LSE and listed on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. Tsai Ing-wen graduated with a PhD in law from the LSE in 1984, and she will be the 37th LSE alumna/alumnus to serve as the head of a nation. Dr Tsai Ing-wen's victory in this election thus not only marks an unprecedented chapter in pan-Chinese history, but connects the developments of democracy and feminism in Taiwan with international trends.

Abstract (2) by Ming-yeh Rawnsley

The results of the 2016 Presidential and Legislative Elections in Taiwan seem to suggest the landscape of  gender politics is changing. Not only has the DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen become the first female president in Taiwan and in the Chinese-speaking world; Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Ju is set to become the DPP’s first female party chairperson. Several newly elected female legislators have caught national attention, including Hung Tzu-yung  of the New Power Party (who defeated the KMT’s seasoned female politician Yang Chiong-ying in Taichung), the DPP’s Wu Si-yao (who defeated the KMT’s long-term legislator Ding Shou-zhong in Taipei), the DPP’s Lu Sun-ling (who defeated another high profile KMT politician Wu Yu-sheng in New Taipei City), and the list goes on. The changing political atmosphere may have affected the KMT as well, with the party experiencing controversy and infighting in anticipation of the election of a new party chairperson. The two most prominent candidates who have emerged are both female: Hung Hsiu-chu and Huang Min-hui. Have Taiwan’s politics really changed? Why should we care about gender in politics? What does the new political landscape mean to Taiwan society?

To find out more, please do come to participate in the Panel discussion. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

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Fang-Long Shih

Rawnsley