Taiwan’s patriarchal society has made it difficult for women to be as successful as their male counterparts. Women tend to occupy menial jobs with poor pay and tend to make lower salaries and wages than men for equal work – just 72% of a man’s income. Filial piety, lineage solidarity, fraternal loyalty, and family maintain this male-oriented culture and make it difficult for change. Though women are vital in maintaining the family line, the idea that prosperity, happiness and peace stem from household productivity has kept women firmly rooted in the home (Koggard 2013).
Boys and girls growing up in Taiwan experience unequal education opportunities. Parents tend to favor the boys for educational investment because they culture views sons as the inheritors of the family line, and it is tradition for the parents to rely on their sons for support and care in old age. Because it is his role as the son to care for his family and his elderly parents, a way to demonstrate his masculinity is through earning money or gaining social status. Jobs in science, engineering, and technology are seen as a way to gain these achievements Girls in less affluent families are far less likely to receive a higher education. In most lower class families, girls only receive enough education to get a job outside of the house. Any wages earned from these jobs are funneled back to cost of their brothers’ higher education. This has caused women’s education to become class-differentiated (Cheng 2010).
There is hope. Taiwan has experienced rapid growth in its economy, allowing more families to accumulate savings. The country’s social welfare has also improved, allowing for more equitable education between the sexes. One obstacle remains for young girls: stereotype pressure from society. Many girls still express that they feel pressure from society to conform to traditional gender roles. Young women still feel pressure from parents, schoolteachers, peers, and supervisors (Cheng 2010).