Since its inception in 2002, Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association has been firmly committed to assembling and training a rising number of gender equity education grassroots instructors, mutual exchange of experiences, and the formation of a support network for gender equity educators, development of gender equity-related educational materials and resources, and organization of advanced workshops for grassroots instructors.
Another key objective of the association lies in the strengthening of links and exchanges with national and international gender equity education organizations.
Over the years, we have engaged in frequent international exchanges with a strong emphasis on the younger generation. In the early years of the association, we visited countries or units with significant achievements in gender equity education or attended international symposiums on gender issues almost every year. Notable examples include:
- the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU)
- the Graduate Women International (GWI), originally named the International Federation of University Women (IFUW)
- University Women Asia (UWA) 2002
- the Association for Gender Equity Leadership in Education (AGELE)
We gained a more substantial understanding of how other countries implement gender equity education through these visits and events. Success stories of gender equity movements in other countries have served as models and guidelines for our efforts.
The constitutional interpretation of marriage equality by the grand justices in 2017 was extremely encouraging and relieving for LGBTQ+ groups and other citizens concerned about gender issues.
On the other hand, many conservative and religious groups were extremely agitated and spread false news and rumors on a massive scale to taint the image of gender equity education. These actions generated a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions of the LGBTQ+ community in Taiwanese society, which is characterized by a rather conservative social climate. This has also hampered the implementation of gender equity education on our campuses.
In 2018, we invited Michael McCulloch, Director of General Relations at the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, an LGBTQ+ advocate and has extensive professional experience in the field of human rights and gender issues, to share his insights with LGBTQ+ groups in Taiwan. We firmly believe that his personal experiences and Canada’s success story, which ratified the gender-neutral “Civil Marriage Act” as early as 2005, can serve as a valuable reference for LGBTQ+ groups and gender workers in Taiwan.
In our international exchanges and interactions, we noticed that our international friends tend to be deeply impressed by the rapid development of gender equity education in Taiwan over the past few years. After the ratification of the Same-Sex Marriage Act in 2019, international LGBTQ+ groups and human rights organizations were heartened by the success of Taiwan in this field.
This success is the result of the efforts of many parties. Relevant efforts and activities include the ongoing monitoring of central and local governments by LGBTQ+ groups and diversified lectures, workshops, and training camps covering a wide range of topics. The Gender Equity Education Act, which was enacted in 2004, also represents a shot in the arm for our movement.
In 2021, we, therefore, will organize an “Online Symposium for Exchanges in the Field of Gender Equity Education in Asia”, which will be centered around the main theme of the Gender Equity Education Act, which is exclusive to Taiwan. The goal of this event is to familiarize participants with the legislative background and context of this law and share with them how the Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association develop ideas and concepts for its published gender equity education materials, how it empowers and builds the capacities of educators, and how it raises gender equity awareness in communities, enterprises, and government departments.
Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, this symposium has been converted from a physical event to a peer-to-peer (country to country) online setting. Educators and college students who wish to pursue a career as a teacher represent the main audience of this symposium.
We strive to share the evolution of the gender equity movement in Taiwan and information related to this precious new law with neighboring countries and their LGBTQ+ communities to strengthen mutual links through these exchanges and thereby create a hub and alliance centered around the theme of gender equity education. Campuses in Taiwan will serve as the starting point for our campaign to make society more harmonious through the butterfly effect and ensure fair treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.