| Taiwan Women Web | Taiwan Women Forum | Taiwan Women Newsletter | YamWeb Navigator |

The Report on Women's Status in TaiwanˇG

Women's Education


An Imbalanced Achievement:

Imbalanced Quantity

ˇ@ˇ@The educational system in Taiwan has grown rapidly since the 1950's, and opened the school-gate for women. In 1995, the percentage of female students in all educational levels is close to half of all students. In other words, the students' sex ratio is almost 1:1. However, this enrollment ratio doesn't extend to the advanced educational levels. There is a disparity. The facts show that female enrollment rate decreases in higher levels. For example, only 29% of students in master degree programs are women and only 19.2% of students in doctoral degree programs are women.(Table 21)

ˇ@ˇ@The gender stereotype also dominates in educational choices. Girls are more likely to enroll in occupational senior high schools, which are considered to be the second choice to students graduating from junior high schools.(Table 23) Public schools have a stronger academic reputation, whereas private schools are thought to focus more on occupations, and are less respected. The enrollment of girls in private schools is higher than that of boys.

The Binding Gender Ties

ˇ@ˇ@In Taiwan, girls usually major in traditional female associated subjects such as human and social sciences. Take the occupational high schools as example. In the housekeeping and nursery departments the enrollment of female students is over 96%. In clerical and secretarial departments it is over 80%. However, in the electricity or industry departments the female enrollment is only 14%.

ˇ@ˇ@At the college and university level, the gender stereotype can also been seen. The rate of female students in the technical-related departments is under 40%, while that in university is 26% and that in graduate programs is under 26%. (Table 22)

ˇ@ˇ@Why? Would women like to choose technology as their majors? Why do stereotypical gender roles still dominate people's minds? In addition to social values and parental expectations, education plays a key role. Basically, the design of educational programs, the teaching activities, and the textbooks all adhere to traditional gender roles, and thus limit women's occupational opportunities.

The Gender Stereotype in Textbooks

ˇ@ˇ@The importance of textbooks in affecting students' concepts of gender roles can't be over-emphasized. The classic textbooks seriously discriminate against women in the following ways.ˇ@First, mostly men are introduced in the textbooks. The few women are housekeepers. Under pressure from women's groups and researchers, the textbooks were finally modified in 1992 and the gender portrayal is more balanced. But in the textbooks above the third grade, women are only presented in traditional occupations.

ˇ@ˇ@Second, the Taiwanese educational system supports an atmosphere of competition, which demands dedication to scholarship to pass the tests to attend the best schools, or to avoid the occupational route. Many girls are not encouraged by society, their parents, the educational system, or their peers to compete in this arena. In specific, the unified textbooks stress the influence of traditional stereotypes, which are woven throughout the lessons. Students easily identify with the role models in the textbooks, in order to get high scores.

ˇ@ˇ@Third, daily the students view teachers and staff interact which influences their awareness and attitude toward gender roles. Women are usually at the base and men are at the top of a pyramid-type structure at elementary and high schools.(Table 19) Students are accustomed to seeing men giving orders and women obeying.(Table 20) No wonder that the public is usually unresponsive to gender issues.


ˇ@ˇ@The educational policy in Taiwan has been designed to achieve the national development and economic growth. However, the educational system reinforces traditional gender interests and career paths, without challenging or creating opportunities for women to live up to their potential. Although women's enrollment had increased, the quality of education still needs to be improved, by changing gender stereotypes in textbooks, increasing female administrators in the school system and encouraging women to pursue their talents. Taiwan could have a stronger economy if all citizens were contributing their potential.

The Report on Women's Status in Taiwan, 1998
ˇ¸ Legal Status ˇ¸ Welfare Resources ˇ¸ Population and Family ˇ¸ Education
ˇ¸ Physical Safety ˇ¸ Working Status ˇ¸ Political Involvement ˇ¸ Health
ˇ¸ Statistics Related to the Women's Status Report

Contact Us
Yam Women Web since 1997.03.08 last updated : 1998.10.29
All Rights Reserved by Frontier Foundation Formosa on WWW Women & Community Web Team