(Provided by Institute of Public Affairs Management) To respond to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, the Civil Society and Democratic Innovation Collaborative Learning group, the Gender and Management Microprogram, and the Institute of Public Affairs Management (IPAM) at National Sun Yat-sen University jointly organized the 2021 Women and Leadership Forum. The organizers invited female leaders from government agencies, communities, women’s organizations, and female village chiefs from Taipei and Kaohsiung for two sessions of the Forum to look into nurturing female leadership. The Forum was supported with the funds of NSYSU Gender Equity Education Committee. A total of 74 students and teachers from across departments, institutes and colleges participated on site; the Forum was also broadcast online.
The first session of the Forum, hosted by Professor Wen-Hui Anna Tang of Si Wan College, revolved around the topic of venue diversity and methods of the cultivation of female leaders. The speakers, representing government agencies and associations working in gender issues for many years, included Board Member Hsiu-Hui Chen of the National Alliance of Taiwan Women's Associations, Director of the Women, Children, Youth Center of the Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government Hsiu-Wen Chen, Executive Secretary of Kaohsiung Tien-Ching Women Wish Association Shu-Ying Liang, the Director of the Kaohsiung branch of The Garden of Hope Foundation Chih-Hui Yang, and convener Ho-Lin Chien of the International Affairs Committee, International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW). They shared their experience nurturing women and future visions, hoping to attract more women’s participation in the future.
Board Member Hsiu-Hui Chen introduced the goals and achievements in the cultivation of female chiefs of village and community managers the National Alliance of Taiwan Women's Associations in the past three years, and emphasized the importance of women’s rights and responsibilities in grassroots communities. Director Hsiu-Wen Chen from the government presented the experience of how Women’s Community College of Kaohsiung City Government helped cultivate and assist many female leaders of community organizations. Executive Secretary Shu-Ying Liang and Director Chih-Hui Yang introduced their organizations’ projects that support single mothers and disadvantaged young girls to move towards economic autonomy and self-confidence, and highlighted the need for more support and co-working with women from disadvantaged groups. Associate Professor Ho-Lin Chien reached out for the resources and opportunities that BPW offers worldwide, as well as discussed the networking programs of the Taiwan branch for young women and professionals.
Assistant Professor of the Institute of Public Affairs Management Cheng-Hsiung Hsieh, who was the host of the second session on the challenges in women’s community leadership and related strategies, invited female front-line community leaders and organizations to share their experiences. Chief of Yungan Village in New Taipei City, Li-Yu Huang, participated in a training session for chiefs of villages by the National Alliance of Taiwan Women's Associations, and became an excellent young student that succeeded in winning the elections. As a chief of village, she shared her solutions to the difficulties she faced as a female leader. Two more female politicians, Chief of Wu Quan Village in Xinyi District, Taipei City, Hsiu-Hao Wu and Chief of Neimen Village, Neimen District, Kaohsiung City, Chiung-Feng Tsai, shared that their key to success was to never give up, even when threatened by their opponents and frustrated with work, and to stay committed to their goals.
Besides joining the elections for chief of village, community nurturing associations are also an important way to participate in public affairs. Yueh-Er Wang, the former chief executive secretary of the Luzhongmiao Community in Cianjhen District of Kaohsiung, mentioned the necessary attributes for female leaders in community work and encouraged ambitious women not to be shackled by the impostor syndrome. Mei-Ya Lan, Director of Fengshan Community College in Kaohsiung, who also understands the predicament of women in leadership, said that in the past, women were passive participants in the community and were often limited in self-development by their families. She hopes that with training opportunities and a support system, we will see more courageous and confident leaders pushing the community forward.
The Convener of the Civil Society and Democratic Innovation Collaborative Learning group and Director of the Institute of Public Affairs Management Professor Yen-Wen Peng said that she hopes that the Forum can be an exchange opportunity for the audience to learn about women's training efforts and strategies in different contexts, so that those interested in community leadership and women's empowerment may find the most suitable path for themselves. The Forum was broadcast online on the Facebook fanpage of the Civil Society and Democratic Innovation Collaborative Learning group. If you want to watch the recording and learn more, follow the group’s fanpage: https://reurl.cc/35RW3l
(Edited by Public Affairs Division)