Family and gender in Taiwan

Authored by: Chin-Chun Yi , Chin-Fen Chang

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Gender Studies

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138959897
eBook ISBN: 9781315660523
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines changing family and gender situations in Taiwan. We first introduce a broad overview of significant social changes over the last few decades, then provide specific examples to show how family system and gender relations change and adapt in accordance with the macro-structural context. Changing family system is delineated by co-residence patterns and intergenerational relations. Previous studies document a substantial proportion of patrilineal co-residence between generations and an upward support pattern to paternal parents characterises the contemporary Taiwanese family. A modified patriarchal family as a suitable research model is thus proposed. Regarding changing gender relations in the family, the continuing unequal division of labour favouring men, using paternal surname for children as well as other patriarchal practices at home such as violence against wives are documented. We argue that clear patriarchal authority maintains its dominance and has delayed the improvement of gender equality in Taiwan. This chapter also proposes that the current family and gender dynamics in Taiwan is an outcome of the interplay between individual resources and patriarchal norms. As a transitional society facing constant conflict and challenge from modernity and tradition, both continuity and change in various domains of family and gender relations are shown to co-exist. We suggest that the salience of normative influence needs to be emphasised in studying changing family and gender relations in Taiwan.

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