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Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC
Gender Analysis
Image of Women in Chinese Taipei
Marriage and Family
Economic security and welfares
Personal Security
Participations in Society and Politics
Comparisons with Other Countries
Involvement of Women in APEC
Sex-Disaggregated Data

I: Overall

The female labor force in 2002 was 4.07 million in Taiwan with the labor force participation rate of 46.6%, which was a little higher than that in the past year, although still lower than 59.6% in the States, 48.5% in Japan, 52.0% in Hong Kong, 49.7% in South Korea and 53.4% in Singapore.

Sources:2003 Statistics on International Labor Force by Council of Labor Affairs, Executive Yuan

1. Occupations, Professions, Identities and Incomes

Divided by professions in 2001, 28% of women labor force was in agriculture, 32% in industries, and 48% in services. 

With the overall employed population as the denominator, the occupations for women in 2002 in Taiwan are 14.6% of “civil representatives, executives and managers in businesses,” 43.6% of “professionals” and “technicians and assistant professionals,” 77.3% for “routine affairs,” 55.1% for services and sales persons, 27.2% for personnel in agriculture, forestry, fishery and pastures, 26.9% for workers related to production, machine operation and labor intensive jobs.  Women made up 49.7% in the categories with relatively higher incomes (including “civil representatives, executives and managers in businesses,” “professionals,” “technicians and assistant professionals,” and “routine affairs”).

In the changes of occupation categories in 2001, women made up 43.0% and 14.8% in professionals, management and managers respectively, an increase of 6.6% and 4.5% over the past 2 decades.  However, men still dominate the decision-making circles in enterprises.

Take a look at the identities.  In 2002, women made up 41.3% in the overall employed population with 58.7% of men.  Female employers made up 15.9% of all employers while self-employed women made up 21.4% of all self-employed population.  Unpaid female homemakers made up 75.5% in all unpaid homemakers.  Female employees make up 44.1% of all employees (including “employees at government institutes” and “employees at private businesses”).

   Sources: 2002 Human Resources Statistics Annual Report in Taiwan by DGBS, Executive Yuan

Ratio of business startup loans of women: youth startup loans—28.6% in 2001, 35.4% in 2002; micro business loans—37% in (January to November) 2003, agriculture youth startup loans—19% (2001-2003) (business run by husbands and wives but loans were made by husbands), and aboriginal youth startup loans—40% in 2002 and 44% in 2003.

The largest cluster of women work force in 2001 was laborers in manufacturing businesses (638,000) with the average monthly salary of NT$26,108, 68.26% of male counterparts.  The second was employees at retails and dining (528,000) with the average monthly income of NT$28,490, 87.31% of male counterparts.  The third one was employees in manufacturing businesses (338,000 people) with the average monthly income of NT$35,376, 65.36% of male counterparts.  The average monthly salary of overall employed women was NT$28,167, 74.56% of male counterparts at NT$37,778.  Female employers and self-employed with higher income is only 10.15%, which was far lower than that of men at 28.56%.  Female employees took up 76.48% of female labor force, which was higher than that of men at 68.38%.  Accordingly, the average monthly income of paid female employees is NT$28,542, or 73.72% of NT$38,715 of men.

In the low-income group (annual income less than NT$300,000) in 2001, women took up as much as 43% with men at 27.1%.  Women took up merely 3.1% in the high-income group (annual income exceeding NT$ 1 million) with men at 9.7%.  In the families with women as the householders, 13.2% belong to low-income group while those with men as the householders at 4.2%.  However, 51.1% of families with men as the householders belong to high-income group while 28.9% of their female counterparts belong to high- income group.  Poverty among women remains serious.

   Remarks:Low-income: annual income less than NT$300,000
                   Mid-income: annual income between NT$300,000 and NT$1 million
                   High-income: annual income higher than NT$1 million
Sources:Investigation on Household Income in Taiwan Areas, 2001, Directorate  General of Budget  Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan

2. Unemployment Situations and Its Reasons

The number of non-labor force women was 4.67 million in 2002 with the main reasons of homemaking, studying and preparation for advanced studies at 57.0% and 22.3% respectively.  The latter increased 1.3% from that a decade ago, showing the increasing number of young women receiving higher education and postponing the entrance into labor market.


Sources:Investigation on Human Resources in Taiwan Areas, 2002, Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan性別統計指標!a339:a377

The labor participation rate of women with spouses in 2001 was 46.3%, a limited increase from a decade ago.  The employment rate for divorced women or women losing spouses remained at 26-27%, which did not correspond to the increasing divorce rate in the past years.
The labor participation rate of women without children was 65.9% in 2000; however, once there were children less than 3 years old, the rate dropped to 48.7%.

A total of 1,355,000 women quit the jobs because of getting married in 2000, 655,000 because of giving a birth.  A total of 825,000 women with educational attainment of junior high school or below quit the jobs because of getting married, 301,000 quit because of giving a birth.

Based on the investigation in 2000, 62% of women who quit the jobs because of marriages or giving a birth did not return to work up to now, or 28.5% of married women aged between 15-64.  Those who once returned to work but were unemployed was at 8%.  Those who were employed after quitting the jobs were only at 30%.  This indicates that women seriously lack the channel of re-employment.  The employment theory of M type women becomes nonsense and the improvement of labor participation rate of women requires the social support of babysitting.


Sources:Investigation Report on Marriage and Employment of Women, 2000

3. Unemployment

The number of women losing jobs because of “going out of the businesses of the employers or tightening of businesses” and “termination of seasonal or temporary jobs” was 102,000 in 2000, which was obviously higher than 63,000 of men.  Considering the number of employment of the two sexes (men are 1.44 times of women), the difference was very great that the rate of women was more than double of that of men.

The number of women losing jobs because of “going out of the businesses of the employers or tightening of businesses” and “termination of seasonal or temporary jobs” was 86,000 in 2002, which was higher than 57,000 of men.

Employed women were mainly with in the jobs of low rankings, low skills, and with low pay and many were paid by pieces or hours, which were the factors causing uncertainties in the employment.

Women with part-time jobs in Taiwan between 1996 and 1998 only took up 37%, which was lower than 86% in Germany, 80% in U.K., 70% in the States, 68% in Japan and 62% in South Korea.

According to the investigation in 2001, 55% of men were facing “no work opportunities,” which was higher than 47.12% of women.  The recently booming “dispatching” of employees with low skills explains one of the features of labor markets in the late capitalist period.

II: Aborigines

The labor participation rate of aborigines was 63.7% in 2002, which was lower than that a couple of year ago.  The rate of men was 75.8%, higher than 51.3% of women.  The rate for either men or women was higher than the regular level.

The largest difference lied in the labor participation rate 26.6% of aborigines aged between 15 and 19, a 14.2% higher than the average 12.4%.  Reason is that the aborigines spend shorter time on education and enter the labor market earlier as a result.

Current unemployment rate of aborigines is 8.4%, higher than the regular 5.0%.  The rate of male aborigines is 7.74%, higher than the average 5.87% of men; the rate of women is 9.33%, even much higher than the average 3.78% of women.  This is a serious employment issue for aborigine women.

Sources: Monthly of Budget Accounting and Statistics, July 2003, p 49

III: Foreign Labors

In October 2003 among the total 297,254 foreign labors, 17,4949 were in industries; 113,702 were janitors; 5,198 worked as domestic workers and 3,405 worked as sailors.  Those in industries continued to drop from the highest number of 220,184 in 2000; janitors rose to the current number from 306 in 1992.  Domestic workers reached the climax in 1996 at 13,947 and dropped to the current number.

Based on the statistics in 1998, immigrant women made up 35.7% while immigrant men 64.3%.  Among the female foreign labors in Taiwan, 51.5% came from Thailand; 42.1% from Philippines and the two made up 93.6% of female foreign labors in Taiwan.  Labors from Philippine were mostly women at 63.8% while those from Thailand were mostly men at 86.3%.  The former were mainly working in the industries of electrical engineering, electronics and as domestic workers while the latter in textile industry or construction industry.

Sources: 1. Bureau of Vocational Training, Council of Labor Affairs, Executive Yuan
                2. Influences of Globalization on Women Economy and Social Life Resources, p. 83

IV: Sex Work

According to the report made by Chen Yu-feng, et al in 1993 on the sex industry in Taichung City by the carpet investigation on the number of sex businesses in each sampling area, the number of personnel involved in sex industries was estimated between 16,409 and 19,690.

If we time 20,000 by 3 (major cities in Taiwan—Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung) plus Taipei County, Taoyuan County and other regions as 40,000 people, it is estimated the workers in sex industries in Taiwan is around 100,000 with women as the major sex.

Between January and November 2001, National Police Agency tracked down a total of 535 illegal female immigrants from China and among which 231 were in prostitution at 43.1% and another 222 without jobs but might be prostitutes in the future.

In 2002, National Police Agency tracked down a total of 1,393 illegal female immigrants from China and among which 642 are in prostitution and 634 without jobs.

From the study by Zhou Wen-qi, between January and November 2001, there were a total of 2,542 legal women from China with 1,491 as prostitutes at 50%.  Also from the interviews with Handling Center of Mainlanders in Hsinchu by Zhou Wen-qi, among the currently 260 women from China held in custody at the Center, around 45% violated the Act of Social Maintenance.  Most of them were aware that they were to become prostitutes after coming to Taiwan while only few were cheated.

According to Research Development and Evaluation Commission, 24% of men in Taiwan wenched and 68% are regular wenchers while only 4% of American men do.

From the Investigation of Social Changes in Taiwan Areas—Sex Behaviors, Sex Trades and Pornographic Consumptions” made by Institute of Sociology Academia Sincia, 19% of men admitted having sexual transaction experiences with 40% of them in middle class and 53% in labor class.

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