彭婉如基金會的寧靜革命

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2011 / 5月

文‧陳歆怡


台灣婦運界早在十多年前就提出結合「照顧公共化」與「民主審議機制」的社福政策建言,多年來,彭婉如基金會既是此一主張的實驗陣地,也是推動政策改革的火車頭;她們相信,唯有透過由國家提供「普及化且人人都負擔得起」的照顧服務,才是緩解當前嚴峻的少子化及高齡化問題的良方,也是促進性別平等、打造美好社會的基石。


1996年,民進黨婦運領袖彭婉如遭到殺害,至今懸案未破。她的先生、師範大學教授洪萬生決定將民眾的捐款成立基金會,化悲憤為博愛;在那個草根社區運動風起雲湧的年代,彭婉如基金會遂成為社區組織者與婦運人士攜手鬥陣的行動基地。

彭婉如基金會的方案研發者、台大外文系教授劉毓秀說明,基金會整套關於普及化照顧系統的理念,是以「北歐模式」為本,再針對台灣社會的需求與條件,不斷調整與實驗。而且都是在政府沒有具體政策前,率先努力研發與推廣,「以身作則,讓社會眼見為信,」以求在時機成熟時,推動為國家政策。

效法北歐模式

北歐國家從1970年代起,奠基在傳統「充分就業」的基本信念,進一步發展出普及照顧福利服務政策,理念是:一、男女平等;女性應該擁有就業、經濟獨立的權利,男性則不應被剝奪參與子女養育和成長的權利。二、社會應提供充足的托育措施,而非歸責於家庭或交給私人市場,所有小孩從人生初期就應受到良好照顧和教育。

劉毓秀指出,當已開發國家皆陷入低生育率及高齡化社會的危機,「北歐模式」值得台灣借鏡。

首先,北歐社會的高生育率(回穩在1.9,接近人口替代率水準)與女性的高就業率並容,這要歸功於北歐模式對育兒家庭的「慷慨支持」,除了有兒童津貼、有薪育嬰假和病童照顧假,更重要的是普及而高品質的公共托育服務。

其次,把「女性就業」與「普及公共托育」綁在一起的政策設計,是北歐模式能夠正向循環的重要訣竅;而其所創造的就業,不單是指照顧工作的有酬化,還包括使用者家庭中的婦女不需中斷職涯,甚至規定只有在父母(或單親)參與勞動的狀況下,才能享受公共托育服務,讓福利政策成為積極勞動市場政策的一環。

結合在地智慧,「摸著石頭過河」

彭婉如基金會執行長王慧珠說,雖有北歐模式奠定理論基礎與方向,基金會在研發每一項方案時,都猶如「摸著石頭過河」般戰戰兢兢,以適應本土環境。

基金會摸索出的know-how,很關鍵的部分在於「財務設計」。劉毓秀解釋,北歐國家的高稅率制是支持普及化福利服務的基礎,然而台灣社會福利預算卻嚴重不足,使得國家能提供的照顧服務量和內容都很有限。因此,基金會乃將北歐的「以稅金共同購買照顧服務」,轉化為「以使用者自付額為主,政府預算為輔」的設計。事實證明,這項順應國情的變通也可能是進步的解方!

以基金會在高雄鳳山市的勞工社區成立的「五甲社區自治幼兒園」為例,地方政府僅給予無償借用空間的承諾,基金會仍不惜虧本開辦,就是要證明:透過社區自治與互助,平價而好品質的托兒設施是可行的,也間接批判台灣高度向營利傾斜、政府也退縮逃責的托育制度。

在採取開放教育理念的五甲幼兒園,家長必須組成家長會參與校務,且同意在收托的80名兒童中,有15%的名額提供社區內的弱勢兒童「減免學費入學」。「就像彼此互助的大家庭,總有能力在餐桌上多擺幾雙筷子給需要的人,」王慧珠比喻。

未完成的革命

此外,基金會不只著眼在方案的細膩操作,更時時將眼光放在國家政策建構的層次。戰績包括:2003年課後照顧納入「兒童及少年福利法」的福利措施項目(尤其是由政府「全額補助」課後照顧收托的弱勢學童),以及2008年正式上路的「保母托育管理與托育費用補助」政策。

對於當前的托育制度改革,劉毓秀直言,過去數十年來,每一波托育改革都立意良善,最終卻都在「業者維護自身利益」與「政府本位主義」中敗下陣來。

以最近的發放幼兒教育券或是各種因應選舉支票推出的大規模補助或委辦托育方案,都沒有勇氣根本導正托育市場過度營利化、漫天喊價的亂象,僅任由家庭自行向營利事業「購買」服務,卻不規劃配套措施以訂定價格上限、管理辦法乃至工作人員待遇,可以預見將是花費甚鉅、成效卻有限。

堅守體制內改革路線、實戰經驗豐富的彭婉如基金會,誠心建言:只有建立政府與民間社會共享權利的民主決策機制,持續凝聚社會共識,才能發展出可長可久的普及公共照顧系統,也才能同時保障被照顧者與照顧人員雙方的權益。

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EN

The Peng Wan-Ru Foundation's Community Network Dream

Chen Hsin-yi /tr. by Phil Newell

As long ago as a decade or more ago, the women's movement in Taiwan was already proposing a welfare policy based on combining "public caregiving" and "a democratic deliberative mechanism." For many years now the Peng Wan-Ru Foundation has been a laboratory for practical experiments toward this proposal, and has been a locomotive force in policy reform. They believe that the real key to solving the twin problems of a sharply declining birth rate and a rapidly aging population is for the government to provide care services "that are accessible and affordable to everyone." Such a policy would also be the bedrock for promoting gender equality and building a harmonious society.


In 1996, feminist activist Peng Wan-ru, a leading figure in the Democratic Progressive Party, was murdered. The case has never been solved. Her husband, National Taiwan Normal University professor Hung Wan-sheng, decided to establish a foundation with money that had been donated by the public, to transform tragedy into hope. In that era, when grassroots social movements were in full flight, the Peng Wan-Ru Foundation became a core base for action among community organizers and feminist activists.

Liu Yu-hsiu, a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University and a program developer for the foundation, says that the concept of a universal care system is based on the Scandinavian model, continually refined and experimented with in accordance with the particular needs and conditions of Taiwan's society. Moreover, the foundation works to do research and development, and to disseminate information, well before the government has any concrete policy, so that when the time is ripe, they can promote their ideas as national policies.

The Scandinavian model

Since the 1970s, building on the basis of the traditional "full employment" concept, Scandinavian countries developed a policy of universal-care welfare and services. The basic ideas are: First, men and women are equal. Women should have the right to work and achieve economic independence, while men should have the right to participate in childrearing. Secondly, society should provide adequate childcare measures, rather than leaving responsibility entirely with the family or with the marketplace. All children are entitled to a high quality of care and education from the very start of life.

Liu says that since developed countries have all had to confront low birthrates and aging populations, Taiwan could learn a lot from the Scandinavian model.

First, Scandinavian countries have both high birthrates (the figure has stabilized at about 1.9) and a high rate of participation by women in the workforce. This can be ascribed to the "generous support" given by Scandinavian countries to families with children.

Secondly, the policy design of binding together female employment and universal public childcare is the key to how the Scandinavian countries have been able to create a virtuous cycle. The jobs created have not been limited to making childcare a paying profession, but also include the fact that women who have children do not need to interrupt their careers, and there are even regulations that public childcare can only be enjoyed when both parents (or the sole parent) are in the workforce. This makes childcare a link in a proactive labor-market policy.

One step at a time

Peng Wan-Ru Foundation executive director Wang Huei-chu says that while the Scandinavian model provides the basic theory and direction, in all of its research and development programs the foundation follows a "one step at a time" and "learn by doing" approach, in order to adapt to Taiwan's situation.

Of all the know-how accumulated by the foundation, the most critical element is "financial design." Liu Yu-hsiu explains that the high tax rates in northern European countries are the foundation on which their universal welfare policies are constructed. But in Taiwan appropriations for social welfare are seriously inadequate, and the amount and types of the care services that the government can provide are very limited. Therefore the foundation has decided to transform the Scandinavian model of "using tax money to collectively buy care services" into "having the user pay the majority, with government appropriations in support." The evidence shows that this is more suited to Taiwan's situation and is the key to making progress.

Take for example the Wujia Community Autonomous Preschool established in a blue-collar neighborhood of Fengshan District in Kao-hsiung. The local government provided only the promise of a free space, but the foundation still went ahead with the plan because it wanted to prove that an affordable and high-quality preschool built on autonomous community mutual support could really succeed.

At the school, which has adopted a liberal and open policy, parents must organize an association and participate in school affairs, and moreover must agree to leave 15% of the 80 places for disadvantaged children to attend at reduced or no tuition. "It's like a big family where everybody helps out everybody else," says Wang Huei-chu, "It's always possible to put out a few more chopsticks on the dinner table for those in need."

The incomplete revolution

Moreover, the foundation does more than just focus on the details of its programs; it also often looks at the big picture of national policy. Achievements thus far include the incorporation of after-school guidance into the Child and Youth Welfare Act in 2003, and the policy of babysitting management and subsidies, which went into effect in 2008.

As for current reforms to the childcare system, Liu Yu-hsiu says straight out that over the past decades, each wave of efforts to reform childcare has started off well-intentioned but has always ended up with "businesses protecting their own interests" and "government bureaucrats hoarding power."

For example, the programs that the government is coming up with now, like vouchers for preschool education or commissioning private preschools, are little more than big payouts made with the upcoming election in mind. They do nothing to change the actual situation in the childcare market of profits coming first. So long as the system remains one of families "purchasing" services from profit-making enterprises, you can be sure that expenditures will be huge and results paltry.

The foundation suggests that a democratic policy-making mechanism in which both government and civil society have rights be established, and that social consensus-building be continuous, as only then can a universal public care system really be developed, and the rights and interest of both the caregivers and those being cared for be protected.

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