It is kind of obvious, most of the time female travelers/expats can’t experience a place the same way as their male counterpart. There are always added dangers, prohibitions, assumptions, expectations and just those extra things women notice because experience and necessity have trained them to do so. It can be said for sure, that in a few countries it’s worse and in the others better. And fortunately, Taiwan counts to the better ones, probably even to one of the best, especially regarding safety for women.
Still, Taiwan is certainly not perfect, no country has managed to established true equality. Who knows if that’s even possible, talking for women, men and all kind of other minorities. It seems, that pure equality would require less or no freedom. which is already getting more and more limited. Let’s stay with the world is not perfect, so make the best out of it. In this article I will work through all the necessary topics for safety regarding foreign women and women in general in Taiwan. If you want to know more about general safety, dangerous wildlife or crime related hazards in Taiwan, follow the links.
The topics will be:
Regarding the law, women are equal to men. They can walk around alone, dress and style as they want (sometimes harvesting weird glances) and are allowed to do everything their male counterparts are (Except for joining the military). Nobody cares which gender you are as a driver and people in general respect women and see them as equal. Of course if you act out, like being loud, smoking or burping , which is not “ladylike”, you’ll collect some shocked glances, but that’s more because of their cultural view and less because of women in general.
As in every country in the world, there is a wage gap between males and females, the gender pay gap of 2019 was 14.2 percent. Which means women had to work additional 52 days a year to earn the same amount of money for the same kind of work. Which makes Taiwan the best country in Asia, also overtaking countries like the US, having a difference of 18.5 percent. And even though companies will still prefer men over women in certain occupations, generally speaking, every add or every behavior which is sexist, can and will be sued.
Plus, 41.59 percent of lawmakers in Taiwan are women, which makes it the 16th highest percentage of female lawmakers in the world, even surpassing Switzerland. Also, according to the Gender Inequality Index (GII) Taiwan ranks the top in Asia, having a score of 0.053, placed ninth in the world after the leading countries Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.
One thing is certain, as a foreigner you have nearly nothing to worry about, it’s actually pretty safe, but accidents do happen. As a female you can walk around alone day and night or drink at a public parks. There are barely cases where women got roofied or foreign women got assaulted, though it still happens once in a blue moon. That means you must be extremely unlucky if something like that happens to you.
This female traveler describes her experience traveling here as the first country, where she just felt as a simple free traveler. She ends her article with, I quote, “I can live, travel in and experience Taiwan not only as a woman, but also simply as a person.”
Domestic Abuse is a rather dark chapter in Taiwanese society. There are more than 130.000 cases of domestic abuse every year, that means every five minutes there’s a new case. Tragically it is believed, that the unrecorded cases are tremendous. sadly, due to the normally amazing culture. In traditional culture, women believe in the stereotype, that for her children’s best interest, she has to stay with her husband until their children have grown up. Other women are scared they get hit even more after reporting it. And sometimes a report doesn’t get taken seriously.
Gladly there are institutions, which help women and children , like the Garden of help foundation, but the bigger problem are women not having the guts looking for help. It’s seen as “shameful” for themselves and their families and are scared it gets worse. Even though the awareness about women not being victims and being allowed to stand up for themselves gets better and better, the outdated mindset of men being the powerful top of the family and letting his stress of work out on the family is still there.
Domestic violence is a problem all around the world. Only the “always holding face”, being nice, friendly, traditional and close minded mindset makes it, compared to everything else in Taiwan, which is top, such a taboo topic. It’s not “honorable” to be part of an abusive family. And of course add the psychological and emotional abuse, most of the time all hidden behind closed curtains, it’s no joke.
In 2017 alone, there were 14,217 reported cases of sexual assault, and 4,207 alleged cases of harassment on school campuses, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Which sounds not too bad for a population of over 23 Million people, sadly is believed to be only the tip of the iceberg. Victims of sexual assault and harassment often stay silent for a number of reasons, including fear of backlash, shame, lack of privacy and repeat attacks.
Luckily, Rapes barely ever happen and if they do happen, then most of the time from people you already know. There is a case, where an abortion doctor forced sexual intercourse on a patient after an excessive dose of anesthetic before performing the abortion. On March 1st 2017 a Model got heavily assaulted and killed, which let to an awakening of the Taipei Police Apartment, they suddenly found within 3 months 31 fugitive rapists. Since this incident, which was a really big thing, the Police and the whole country started to take assault more seriously. Plus, the #metoo movement gave an extra motivation to spread awareness, speak up and fight against it.
To work through the topic abortion, there are four reasons for getting a legally granted abortion: Firstly, for medical reasons, that means if there’s danger to the mother or fetus including handicaps, and psychological trauma to the mother. Secondly, for rape or incest and thirdly because of “seduction”. It’s meant to cover statutory rape but it can literally be used for nearly every case as a single woman. And last but not least, because of genetical mental/psychological issues that could be passed onto the child.
To sum everything up, it can be said that Taiwan is a highly safe country, especially for female solo travelers. Advertisements and job offers are not sexist at all and theoretically, women have the exact same rights as men. The wage gap is existing but is humane and small compared to the rest of the world. In general the society accepts and respects women the way they should and deserve and don’t see them as less valuable or as just objects.
Unfortunately, there are still major issues with the population thinking too close-minded or traditional. Especially men who think they are in power are the biggest problem, thinking they can get away with everything. Better said, men who have toxic masculinity. Believing they are superior, letting their mommy or daddy issues get in their way of being a good person and treating fellow men and women, as an object or just dirt heap. Domestic and sexual assaults are still a big issue, though I believe that the rest of the world fights against the same monsters.
As long as all of humanity doesn’t realize all of a sudden they should treat everybody the way they want to be treated, some kind of issues will continue to exist. People, who need to apply violence against weaker living beings, were almost always victims to assault before too. If we act early enough, spread awareness and safe the victims from the already rotten minds, we can break out of that vicious circle and save humanity. Save the broken ones, before they start to rot and show them, that even broken can mean complete and happy!