The Executive Yuan has proposed to amend the three bills safeguarding gender equality following a series of sexual harassment accusations involving politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties. 

The three bills, which were enacted in the 2000s, are the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, the Gender Equality Education Act, and the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act.

In a Facebook post, President Tsai Ing-wen vowed yesterday to reexamine the existing mechanisms for filing sexual harassment complaints in workplaces and on educational institutions and conduct a comprehensive review of gender equality regulations across government agencies.

Officials at the Executive Yuan said penalties will be increased for employers who sexually harass or attack their employees. Currently, the Act of Gender Equality in Employment Act imposes obligations on employers to prevent sexual harassment, but it fails to address cases where the employer is the perpetrator. 

Cheng Yun-peng, Secretary-General of the Democratic Progressive Party caucus in the Legislative Yuan, said, “We will pass this [the amendments] in the 8th session [of the Legislative Yuan] to ensure that victims are willing to come forward for their rights and perpetrators receive appropriate punishment. This is our commitment as a party.”

The DPP’s image has been severely damaged by recent sexual harassment allegations. Lai Ching-te, Vice President and DPP Chairperson, has also proposed reforms within the party, including dismissing party officials who fail to report cases of sexual misconduct.

Eric Chu, Chairperson of the opposition KMT, said yesterday that the KMT has established relevant mechanisms to protect sexual harassment victims, emphasizing that they will not “evade responsibility for protecting them based on the law and facts without any bias or leniency.”

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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