PPSEAWA Taiwan’s International Efforts in Empowering Women
Feminism rose after the end of the First World War. In order to promote world peace and listen to the voice of the socially underprivileged, American social worker, sociologist, philosopher, and reformer Jane Addams, driven by the spirit of feminism, founded the trans-international women’s organization: “Pan-Pacific and Southeast Women’s Association (PPSEAWA)”. It is her utmost hope that by combining international women’s efforts and activities, PPSEAWA can make a great contribution to the world with women’s magnificent and assorted characters and strengths.
Members of PPSEAWA often participate in important conferences hosted by international agencies including UNESCO, UN Women, UNICEF, etc., providing intellectual and assorted recommendations for relevant UN resolutions. Triennially, PPSEAWA holds an International Conference for the exchange and cooperation on gender equality issues, working together for international peace and development.
In spite of the fact that Taiwan is one of the founding members of PPSEAWA, it has never had the opportunity to host a Triennial International Conference. This has become PPSEAWA Taiwan’s biggest regret. Therefore, ever since taking over the post as President of the PPSEAWA Taiwan ROC in July 2013, I have done my best to present Taiwan’s views on women’s rights and empowerments to the international community. It is my hope that through constructive interaction with other countries, we in Taiwan can build a deeper and more consolidated relation with women around the world. Let Taiwan share all information and exchange points of view with the international community. To promote people to people diplomacy through the international exchange has always been my goal and vision.
However, in order to achieve this, the first thing that needs to be resolved is the emphasis on our special characters and advantages compared to other member nations on promoting women’s issues and policies, and to find our unique position in PPSEAWA International. At that time, I noticed that PPSEAWA Taiwan being an “affiliated NMO (National Member Organization) of an international organization”, has the opportunity to speak out and get international attention on women’s issues. Therefore, I started to select representatives to participate in relevant annual meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In 2016, PPSEAWA Taiwan for the first time to organize a CSW parallel event on “Cybercrime against Women and Girls on Stalking, Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking”, and over 200 CSW delegates attended. At the same time, I organized “Assisting Youth and Students in International Affairs and Activities”. In addition, “Bilingual Websites” was set up.
I have also strongly recommended board members from PPSEAWA Taiwan to visit Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and other NMOs to strengthen the effective exchanges on women issues and let foreign countries know Taiwan’s amazing contributions to empower women and girls through outstanding local organizations including the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, the Garden of Hope Foundation and the Modern Women’s Foundation.
When The 27th PPSEAWA International Conference was scheduled to be held in 2019, I decided to go forward for Taiwan and apply for the host nation of the conference. However, competing for the right to host the conference had always been a fierce battle. In order to fight for this opportunity for Taiwan, I expressed my intention to PPSEAWA International Council through email in June 2016. In August of the same year, although I was unable to travel to Malaysia for the competition, I recorded a video in English, apologizing for my absence and stating firmly that PPSEAWA Taiwan ROC had the ability and determination to host the 2019 conference!
After the meeting, our friends from PPSEAWA International told me that everyone was deeply impressed by the film when it was broadcasted at the conference in Kuala Lumpur. The efforts and dedication of PPSEWA Taiwan won the hearts of sisters from all member states. Thus, Taiwan was awarded the honor to host the 27th International Conference. It was for the first time in the past 92 years that the conference was held in Taiwan! At the same time, PPSEAWA Taiwan ROC, gained three important positions on the board of the PPSEAWA International at the Triennial International Conference in Kuala Lumpur. The positions were the International Vice President, Chairperson of the Project Development Committee and Youth Representative.
With the persistence and efforts from board members and working partners, over the last six years, domestic as well as international events hosted by PPSEAWA Taiwan reached resounding success. I am deeply honored to be the President of PPSEAWA Taiwan!
Now, after six years of hard works and fond memories, I have reached the end of my presidency. I am very happy to hand over the position to the new and outstanding President of PPSEAWA Taiwan. It is my firm belief that Taiwan’s prestige of empowering women will continue to shine and to be recognized internationally!
Regina Chen, President of PPSEAWA Taiwan ROC, 2013-2019