The Impact of Political Will and Social Capital: A Case Study of Mayor Ko Wen-je and the Taipei City Committee of Women’s Rights
Shu-Ling Hwang(Center of General Education, National Defense Medical Center)
This article examines the operational effectiveness of the 10th and 11th Taipei City Committee of Women’s Rights (TCCWR). The article elaborates an analytical framework that identifies a set of characteristics/ indicators of political will and social capital, and elaborates external political factors that influence the expression and intensity of Ko’s political will. The conceptual model traces how the links between political will, social capital, and external factors have affected the TCCWR’s efforts to promote gender equality policies. There are three main findings: (1) Ko’s four indicators of political will were all very low: lack of progressive values of gender equality; extremely low attendance rate and reluctance to preside over the TCCWR’s meetings; no special instructions, rewards and punishments, making it difficult for the TCCWR to initiate crossdepartmental policies; and neglect of the need for manpower and an oversight mechanism for the Gender Equality Office (GEO). (2) The increase in the number and diversity of commissioners in these two terms prevented them from building stronger bonds and social capital among themselves. Ko’s lack of attention also impeded the commissioners building social capital to liaison with the GEO and public agencies, which in turn undermined the TCCWR’s effectiveness. (3) Several commissioners developed campaign strategies both inside and outside the establishment to try to bolster Ko’s sagging political will. One effort was an attempt to prevent the Department of Education, under pressure from anti-gay city councilors, from amending the Establishment Directions for Gender Equity Education Committee to include anti-gay parent groups as members. The article concludes with recommendations on development of theory and institutionalization of accountability.
gender equality committee, gender equality policy mechanism, state feminism, women’s movements, LGBT movements, femocrat