In 1982 a group of Taiwanese women actively working towards gender equality published the “ Awakening Magazine” in order to promote women’s rights and self-awareness. The establishment of this magazine was monumental as it was first published under Taiwan’s strict authoritarian government. In addition to publishing the magazine, the group of women also began to organize various events in order to bring the importance of women’s issues to the attention of the public. Once the Martial Law lifted in 1987, the group members established the Awakening Foundation in order to further mobilize women and offer social resources to the community.
For over three decades, the Awakening Foundation has been widely recognized for promoting policy and institutional reform. In 1989 the Awakening Foundation introduced the “Gender Equality in Employment Bill,” which was passed in 2001 after a decade of continual proposals to the government. The foundation also constantly advocates to amend various civil codes with Taipei Warm Life Association, a famous group caring divorced women, in order to reduce gender inequality both at home and in the workplace.
Moreover, the Awakening Foundation has coordinated with other groups to enact legislation such as the Gender Equity Education Act (2004) and the Amendment to the Immigration Act (2007, 2009) to protect immigrant women’s rights.
In addition to lobbying for women’s rights, the foundation also works to strengthen the participation of women in public affairs and helps to ensure government policies created for women are properly enforced. Through these activities and implementation of gender mainstreaming, the foundation hopes the government agencies will become actively engaged in creating an environment of gender equality.
Additionally, the Awakening Foundation plays an important role in advocating women’s rights in many areas, including human trafficking, domestic violence, gender stereotyping, sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
The Awakening Foundation also offers the Civil Law Enquiry Hotline, which is a toll-free hotline that provides free legal advice to the community. The volunteers who answer the phones receive regular training by legal professionals. The foundation uses the information collected from the phone calls to understand the types of issues facing the community. Each year the foundation holds many seminars for schools, social groups, and government agencies to discuss various social changes and the diverse needs of women.