(Nov. 16, 2010) Taiwan's Legislative Yuan passed the Statute Governing Breastfeeding in Public Places on November 9, 2010. The 13-article Statute protects the right to breastfeed in public by stipulating the establishment, within one year of the Statute's promulgation, of nursing rooms in public places. These places are to include “government offices, state-run enterprises, train stations, airports, public transit areas, department stores and malls,” as well as a catch-all “other areas announced by the central agency in charge” (that agency is the Ministry of Health). (June Tsai, New Act Protects Breastfeeding in Public, TAIWAN TODAY (Nov. 10, 2010), http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=128037&ctNode=454&mp=9; Kung-kung ch'ang-so mu-ju pu-yü t'iao-li [Statute Governing Breastfeeding in Public Places], art. 5, ¶ 1 [in Chinese], Legislative Yuan website (Nov. 9, 2010), http://lis.ly.gov.tw/npl/fast/05143/991109.htm.)
Failure to meet the above requirement, or to provide clear signs pointing to the nursing room, after being advised to do so within a certain time limit, will incur a fine of from NT$6,000 to NT$30,000 (about US$200-$995) (Statute, art. 9, ¶ 1). Those who fail to meet the specified standards for the rooms determined by the Ministry of Health will face a fine of from NT$4,000 to NT$20,000 (about US$133-$663) (id. art. 9, ¶ 2). Persons in charge of the public areas or their employees must not obstruct or refuse inspections or spot checks of the rooms and their facilities and should provide the requisite cooperation; failure to do so will incur a fine (id. arts. 6, ¶ 2, & art. 10). Provision of nursing rooms, however, “does not make it legal to ask a mother not to breastfeed in other areas.” (Tsai, supra.) The Statute will formally become law after being promulgated by the President of Taiwan and published in THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.
The Taiwan government reportedly plans to make the development of women's rights a top priority in 2011. As part of the effort to promote gender equality, it will host the island's first women's forum from March 7-8, to discuss such issues as marriage, domestic violence, health, medical care, welfare, and employment. Participants are to include officials from the central and local governments, academics, and representatives of groups involved in the women's movement. The government also plans to unveil guidelines on its gender equality policies at the meeting. (Grace Kuo, Taiwan Steps Up Efforts on Women's Rights, TAIWAN TODAY (Nov. 10, 2010), http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=128047&ctNode=452&mp=9.)