Gender equity is not just a concept, but also a process of practice. Different cultures have different gender norms. For example, some behavior or expressions are socially appropriate in North or Latin America, but are inappropriate in East Asian societies. A good policy is to ask locals or look for resources if you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of behavior or expressions. Showing respect to others’ feelings is a fundamental principle.
The Gender Equity Education Committee at NTHU
In Taiwan, we are highly concerned about the gender equity issues on campus. The Gender Equity Education Act (GEEA) has been enacted since 2004 and requires every school and college to establish a Gender Equity Education Committee (GEEC) in order to promote gender equity curricula and handle cases of sexual harassment on campus. You are encouraged to contact the GEEC at NTHU when needed. GEEC protects confidentiality and student rights. GEEC also provides related legal and counseling services when needed.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a common yet unwelcome phenomenon in Taiwan’s society and is prohibited by GEEA. Sexual harassment cases are defined by the following:
(1) Unwelcome remarks or conduct that explicitly or implicitly carry a sexually or gender discriminating connotation, thereby adversely affecting the other party’s dignity, or the opportunity or performance of her or his learning or work.
(2) A conduct of sexual or gendered nature that is served as the condition for oneself or
others to gain or lose rights or interests in learning or work.
Respect Different Gender Interpretations in Different Cultures
The GEEA identifies sexual harassment cases on the basis of the behavior itself, not the intention, and the feeling of the person being acted upon. People from different cultures may interpret the same behavior differently and hence have different feelings about it. Lack of communication, cultural understanding and respect may easily lead to sexual harassment. Therefore, the more we know about the gender norms of different cultures and the more we show respect for others’ feelings, the better we can handle gender related issues.