On April 18, the Vice President of Taiwan, Chen Chien-jen, spoke at a meeting in Taipei about the importance of gender equality. The meeting was with Bruce Knotts, chair of the Executive Committee of Non-governmental Organizations Associated with the U.N. Department of Public Information.
The forum was held at Taipei’s Grand Hotel and was organized by the World League of Freedom and
Democracy. During the forum, the topic of same-sex marriage was raised, as it is currently a major dispute in Taiwan. Knotts argued, “Where sexual orientation and gender expression are protected, everyone benefits.” Knotts’ outspoken support of gender rights and equality was an important part of the event, which was focused on democracy, the rule of law, and the sustainable development of Taiwan and the world.
In reference to Knotts’ words at the forum, Chen stated his agreement. He went on to say that the entire Taiwanese government was also in support of that viewpoint. Chen said, “It is an issue about which we are highly concerned.”
By bringing gender equality to the forefront of decisions in government and law, Chen acts as an advocate for women and their rights. The topic of gender equality is one that needs to be brought to wide and public forums in order for it to move forward and produce change. Chen hopes that the Taiwanese government will be a part of this change.
Chen urged the Taiwanese to learn from Knotts’ committee in light of the movement towards legalization of same-sex marriage. By engaging in productive dialogue about gender equality, Chen hopes that Taiwan can emulate the attitude of Knotts’ committee. He said, “We have the wisdom to handle conflicts with rationality and communication, which will allow everybody to pursue love and happiness freely.” The importance of communication and rationality in conversations about equality cannot be overstated, as Chen seems to understand. By promoting open discussion, Chen brings the issue of gender equality to a wide audience and encourages movement forward through visibility.
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