【New Taipei City News】The Director General of the New Taipei City Government Secretariat, Yao, Ching-Yu today (the 9th) conducted a City Council thematic briefing, “Deploying heartfelt innovation of the Secretariat, securing sustainability and equality in New Taipei City” as the theme, demonstrating four breakthroughs accomplished over the past four years through city diplomacy and promoting sustainability and equality. Mayor Hou, Yu-Ih movingly shared his original intentions for promoting women’s rights, and hoped that the approach of “courageous innovation and breaking through existing frameworks” could be extended from New Taipei City to other counties and cities, and even to the entire Taiwan government.
When Hou Yu-Ih took office more than four years ago, he insisted that at least one-third of the heads of bureaus and departments should be women, and that 11 of the 29 heads of bureaus and departments should be women. Hou considered that it had long been the norm in many advanced countries for women to make up half of the cabinet, but the percentage of women in the Executive Yuan cabinet at the time was only 12%; He explained that female heads of government drive the direction to diversified governance, ensuring society will be more progressive and better, hence, this year, he also invited three outstanding female heads of government to join the municipal government team, and at present, New Taipei City has the highest proportion of female heads of government among the six major metropolitan areas.
Hou Yu-Ih said that his original intention has not changed. 20 years ago, his doctoral thesis was on how to prevent sexual assault and homicide, and the social atmosphere emphasized protecting women from violence. Now we have progressed from protection to enhancing pragmatic influence of women’s leadership decisions. He mentioned that the recently released Consumer Sustainable Behavior Index Survey 2023 found that the most important sustainable values for young people under the age of 30 are gender equality, labor rights, and housing justice, and that New Taipei City is responding to these aspirations of young citizens.
Therefore, whether New Taipei City receives important foreign guests or visits abroad, the city always deploys female leaders as the core delegates. This includes the recent visit of AIT Chairman Rosenberg, who was received by the mayor and all female leadership, demonstrating to the international community that New Taipei City emphasizes women’s decision-making and a diversity of opinions. Mayor Hou emphasized that the times require continuing progress, and that government promotion of gender equality is not just a matter of chanting slogans, but entails all our leaders working hard and practicing what they preach.
Director General Yao, Ching-Yu reported four breakthroughs in the Secretariat’s work over the past four years: “progressing from passive to active,” “moving from coordination to integration,” “proceeding from staff to business,” and “endeavoring from management to design”. The “Gender Equality Education Base” currently under renovation at the New Taipei City Civic Square is among the latest efforts. The government rents out venues not only for annual revenues, but also to conduct more public-spirited and meaningful events.
Mayor Hou responded how the Secretariat, as an executive office, encourages innovative thinking and new ways of doing things in government departments, without being limited by its original portfolio of responsibilities. The Secretariat has made remarkable achievements in SDGs and gender equality, and has frequently leapt onto the international stage, winning awards for managing buildings and constructing restrooms, such that the central government has visited the main Six Metropolises to observe and learn from local government. This kind of “courage to innovate and break through the existing frameworks” should be extended from New Taipei City to other counties and cities, and even to the entire Taiwan government.
Mayor Hou said that in recent years, when the international community considers sustainability or gender equality, people tend to think of New Taipei City in Taiwan. Just as with SDGs we think of New York City’s publication of the world’s first “Voluntary Local Review (VLR),” New Taipei City published the first VLR in Taiwan and the tenth in the world. The UCLG, the most representative international coalition of cities, only invited New Taipei City to participate in the sideline meetings of the United Nations Women’s Conference this year, evincing how New Taipei City has already earned a reputation for itself and its characteristics, and that we should continue working hard.