Lu Hsiu-lien Annette
Lu Hsiu-lien Annette was born on the D-Day in 1944 in a small town in Taiwan. She was the fourth child in an ordinary family. Her parents twice attempted to give her away for adoption, with a hope for her better life.
She excelled in studies and graduated from prestigious schools. At the age of 30, she suffered from thyroid carcinoma. At 36, she was jailed as a freedom fighter for 1933 days. At 60, she survived from an assassination when she was campaigning with the President for her re-election for vice presidency. Her life is a legend.
Who is she?
- The founder of feminist movement in Taiwan in 1971.
- A freedom fighter imprisoned for 1933 days (1979-1985).
- A scholar graduated from National Taiwan University (1967), University of
Illinois (1971), and Harvard University (1978).
- A writer with 15 books published, 2 of which are novels written in the prison.
- An elected congresswoman, county magistrate and the only 2-term, 8-year
Vice President in Taiwan.
- A winner of many honorable awards in regard to human rights, women’s leadership, and world peace.
- A holder of 5 honorable doctoral degrees, plus one honorable professor.
- Central American Technological University, Honduras, 2000
- National University of Asuncion, Paraguay, 2002
- Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala, 2004
- Universidad Dr. Jos Matias Delgado, El Salvador, 2005
- National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan, 2007
- Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2007
- An idealist and actionist, strongly and actively advocates for democracy,
gender equality, environment, world peace, and the philosophy of soft power.
- The founder of BPW Taiwan in 2008
Struggle and Success
Lu pioneered Taiwan’s New Feminist Movement and has been the foremost women’s rights activist in Taiwan. Her first book in 1974, entitled The New Feminism was acclaimed as the forerunner of the subsequent feminist writings. She promotes women’s rights and enlightens the public on gender equality in order to change traditional attitudes and male chauvinism. In March 1976, she set up the Women’s Protection Hotlines to assist women experiencing personal crises – raped victims and battered women. The hotline was a hit with the media and she recruited psychologists, professors, lawyers and professional social workers to provide services to the women who called the hotlines. Hardship of works deprived of her health. In 1974 she took a surgery to cure her thyroid carcinoma.
Lu observed that many women had difficulty in becoming employed–especially single mothers, divorced women, and aging women–mainly because they lack skills. Accordingly, as Taiwan’s Vice-President, she founded the “Good Housekeeper” project whereby these women were trained to become professional housekeepers equipped with housekeeping skills, and dispatched to contract with employing families. This project enabled housewives and single-parent mothers to empower themselves economically. It also enables professional women to be free from house care burden so that they can utilize their talent and advance their careers. She effectively encourages women to help women.
As the Vice President, Lu called for and supported the elevation of women to higher political and government offices. At the present, approximately 34 percent of the members of the parliament are female. During 2000~2008, thirty-five women were appointed to hold ministerial or vice-ministerial positions, and two as Vice Premiers.
As more women went to parliament, they pushed through legislations to protect and enhance women’s rights, including “Gender Equality in Employment Act,” “Gender Equality Education Act,” as well as the “Sexual Assault Prevention Act,” the “Domestic Violence Prevention Act” and the “Sexual Harassment Prevention Act”. When measured by the UNDP’s indicators to compare gender development–access to education, gender empowerment position, participation in the job market and elections to representive offices–Taiwan’s women rank first in Asia and fourth in the world. Annette Lu can take credit for the impressive achievements of Taiwan’s women.
Lu is not a conventional or traditional political leader. In retirement, she has not chosen a simple life. She has served as President of BPW-Taiwan and International Goodwill Ambassador to support IFBPW, and continued to make efforts to elevate the status of women in Taiwan and around the world.
In conclusion, Annette Lu, Taiwan’s first female Vice-Precedent and the President of Business and Professional Woman-Taiwan, is an extraordinary woman and a great champion of human rights and the empowerment of women, and inspires many people that they too could lead lives of greater ambition and purpose.