Taiwan News
Taiwan, Australia launch joint businesswomen's network
By Lee Hsin-Yin
March 5, 2015

Taiwan and Australia on Thursday launched a network to connect female entrepreneurs in the two countries, as part of an effort to create more business opportunities for women and boost bilateral ties.

Tuan Ching-mei (段菁梅), project director of the Australia-Taiwan Women Entrepreneur Network (ATWEN), said the initiative is aimed at helping women do business in Asia, starting with Taiwan.

"We can juggle many tasks and we are willing to share our experiences," Tuan said at the network's inaugural ceremony.

She said that women, however, traditionally are an economically disadvantaged group.

The project, supported by the Australian government's Asian Business Engagement (ABE) program, provides mentoring and internship opportunities to allow young females from both sides to share their experiences, Tuan said.

For instance, the mentoring program will allow successful women entrepreneurs based in Taiwan to coach young Australian businesswomen, and vice versa, she said.

Director of the Australian Office in Taipei Cathy Raper, also one of ATWEN's patrons, said she hopes the project will help empower women across international boundaries.

"We must engage, cooperate and keep working to realize gender equality, to allow a vision of the future where girls and women can fulfill their own potential, and help their families and communities to grow and prosper," Raper said.

Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平), who was stationed in Australia from 2001 to 2007, also attended the ceremony. She lauded Taiwanese businesswomen's strength.

Naming some of the successful Taiwanese businesswomen--including Cher Wang (王雪紅), co-founder and chairwoman of HTC Co., and Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠), chairwoman of Taiwan Financial Holdings and the Bank of Taiwan -- Shih said Taiwan has put the issue of women in leadership at the forefront of global attention.

"Through ATWEN, businesswomen of both countries can now combine forces, giving them the skills and knowledge to succeed in culturally different business environments, and the confidence to succeed and thrive in what some already hail as the 'Asian Century,'" Shih said.
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