Women and Adversity:
21st Century Women
Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan
Tsai Ing-wen (pronounced Sigh⸍ Ing-when⸍) was elected president of Taiwan in January 2016 and reelected in January 2020, the first woman to hold that office. She is a remarkable woman. She has a firm grasp of the English language, holds a Ph.D. in law and was instrumental in negotiations to have Taiwan join the World Trade Organization, which occurred in 2002.
Taiwan is an island in the western Pacific, about 100 miles off the coast of mainland China. Taipei is its capital, and it has about 23 million residents. Its history gets complicated. Both Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, and mainland China, known as the People’s Republic of China, agree that Taiwan is a province of China. However, Taiwan says it is the legitimate government, but PRC says IT is. The United Nations recognizes PRC, not Taiwan.
In 1949 the Nationalists lost the civil war to the communists in China and went to Taiwan, which holds democratic elections unlike PRC. Tsai says President Xi of PRC cannot coerce Taiwan to be part of mainland China because it “offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.” This struggle deserves watching, especially since it’s apparent Tsai won’t allow mainland China’s aggression to overtake Taiwan.
In her May 2020 inaugural address, Tsai recounted the two major achievements since her inauguration in 2016: controlling COVID and Taiwan’s economic growth. Looking forward she outlined “six core strategic industries….to transform Taiwan into a critical force in the global economy.” Taiwan now manufactures 50 percent of the world’s semiconductors. This country and Tsai are worth following.
Tsai Ing-wen bio:
Born August 31, 1956 in Taipei
Youngest of nine of a wealthy business family
1978 – law degree from National Taiwan University
1980 – master’s degree in law from Cornell University, New York
1984 – doctorate degree in law from London School of Economics and Political Science, specializing in international trade law and competition law
1984-2000 – law professor at universities in Taipei
1990s – appointed trade policy adviser
2000 – appointed chair of Mainland Affairs Council, which is responsible for relations between Taiwan and mainland China
2004 – elected member-at-large to Taiwan’s national legislature
2006 – appointed vice-premier of Taiwan
2008 – chosen president of Democratic Progressive Party, first woman to hold the office
2012 – resigned post to run for president, was defeated
2014 – elected president of DPP again
2016 – was elected president of Taiwan January 16, 2016, inaugurated on May 20, 2016
2020 – reelected president on January 11, inaugurated May 20, 2020
2022 – November 26 – resigns as DPP chair
Never married; no children
Learn more about Tsai Ing-wen
https://english.president.gov.tw/News/6004 (Inaugural address of ROC 15th-term President Tsai Ing-wen)