為公部門帶來新思維的王如玄

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2010 / 1月

文‧林欣靜


不管是在過去那個威權統治的年代,或現今這個資本主義掛帥的社會,有志投身學運或社運的年輕人,基本都是走在「人煙稀少」的那條路上,註定前途荊棘滿布,必須有極大的決心、毅力及抗壓性,才能無懼險阻、持之以恆地走下去。

本刊此次很高興訪問了長期致力於兩性平權工作的勞委會主委王如玄,以及前客委會主委、曾為「野百合」學運領袖的羅文嘉,分享他們多年來從事社運、民主運動的甘苦,站在體制內、外改革的優缺點,以及對新世代年輕人的期許。也希望他們的經驗和建言,能為目前在各領域深耕的青年運動者指引方向,厚實未來面對更多挑戰的決心。


我是在1984年從台大法律系畢業。讀大學時,因為參加「台大大新社」,從報導學校事務、討論校園民主出發,觸角也漸漸伸至社會各界的議題。

大學畢業後,我當上律師,接觸到眾多家庭暴力的個案,像是1993年震驚社會的「鄧如雯殺夫案」,我就是其中的主辯律師。

將婦女議題提升至主流

從這些個案我才發現,原來台灣社會根深蒂固存在著眾多兩性不平等的刻板觀念,例如婚姻暴力中的受虐婦女,常必須承受外界「這個女人一定是自己做錯事才會被打」的異樣眼光;遭受性侵害的婦女,也必然會被歸責是「自己穿太少」、「行為不檢點」,我投身兩性平權運動,就是希望藉由自己的法律專業,從制度面的改革提升婦女地位,進而喚起台灣女性的自我意識覺醒。

在1980、1990年代,婦權議題其實是屬於較非主流、甚至還帶有某種負面印象的社會運動,我也深刻體認到,要扭轉這樣的社會氛圍,必須從根本的「觀念改造」著手。

因此當年我們這群人從事婦運,是採取從「點」到「線」到「面」的逐步擴散方式,例如由鄧如雯殺夫案,我們促成了「家庭暴力防治法」,再透過此法,要求中央設立「家庭暴力防治委員會」、地方則必須有「家庭暴力防治中心」,這個網一撒下去,從此之後,台灣受暴婦女就可以到各縣市的負責單位尋求協助,不致像過去因求助無門而必須長期隱忍。

加快體制內的「質變」

2008年馬總統上任後,我在前行政院長劉兆玄的徵詢下入閣,擔任勞委會主委。當時劉院長說服我最關鍵的一句話就是:「妳還有什麼想做、卻還沒做到的事?」我想了想,就決定進來。

那像我這樣一個長期在體制外的社運人士,進入勞委會後究竟能做什麼?我覺得最重要的是「促成體制的質變」。舉例來說,勞委會的多數同仁,待在這裡都已經二、三十年,他們縱使有心做事,卻因和外界的接觸較少,不管在政策的制定或執行,都很難真正做到「體察民情」;而像我這樣擁有豐富第一線經驗的運動者進駐後,就可以帶來新的觀點、態度和做事方法,不但在決策上更貼近民意,也較能跳脫僵化的「依法行政」邏輯。

在我任內的這兩年,非常重視透過制度面的保障來改善勞工處境。例如在2008年7月,我們完成「勞工保險條例」的修正工作,終於促使勞工保險從傳統的「一次給付」改為年金制,這也是勞保實施58年以來的最大變革。2009年3月則促成「就業保險法」修正案通過,將中高齡及身心障礙者的失業給付從6個月延長為9個月,並且增列女性勞工多年來殷殷期盼的「育嬰留職停薪津貼」。

另外,擔任律師的多年經驗,也讓我深切體認透過勞工訴訟對惡質資方施壓的重要性,因此我們也編列了每年約新台幣5,000萬元的「勞工權益基金」,提供勞工在訴訟期間必要的法律扶助及生活費補助。

做好自己的本份

雖然這段時間因為全球金融風暴影響,台灣失業率屢創新高,身為勞委會主委的我,當然也必須承受各界的批判,坦白說,這可能是我投身社運二十多年來從未有過的經驗。剛開始我看到媒體的負面報導常十分介懷,總會想盡辦法澄清,但日子久了我就想開了,因為要做的工作實在太多了,不可能花太多時間在「擦掉黑點」的解釋上。

而且我始終認為,這個社會是公平的,無黨無派的我,本來就是無所求而來,該離開時我絕不會戀棧,但留在體制的每一分、每一秒,我都會盡我所能,做好該做的事,我相信自己絕對經得起檢驗,日後社會自有公評。

現在常有來自各領域的青年運動者到勞委會抗議,我對這群年輕孩子是非常敬佩的,這是因為人要有這種「不求回報,只是認為這件事該做就去做」的熱情、正義感和執行力,其實並不容易,我看到他們,也彷彿看到當年的自己。當然在從事運動的過程中,他們也註定會遇到各種挫折、打擊,不過到最後這群年輕人一定會發現,獻身社會公義,收獲最大的其實是自己,這也是我這一路走來的由衷感想。

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近期文章

EN

Wang Ju-hsuan: New Ideas into the Bureaucracy

Lin Hsin-ching /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Phil Newell

No matter whether in the authoritarian days of the past or the capitalism-uber-alles contemporary society, young people with the inclination to devote themselves to social movements are essentially walking a road less traveled-indeed, a nearly deserted path shunned by the mainstream. Such young people are setting themselves up to face pitfalls and difficulties in the future, so they must have extraordinary determination, willpower, and calm under pressure. Without these, it will be impossible to move forward without giving in to fear of the dangers.

We are delighted in this issue to have the comments of two persons who have dedicated themselves to social activism: Wang Ju-hsuan, current minister of the Council of Labor Affairs and a long-time proponent of women's rights, and Luo Wenjia, former minister of the Council for Hakka Affairs and a leader of the Wild Lilies student movement. They share with us their years of experience in social activism and the democratic movement, their views on the advantages and drawbacks of working for change from outside or from inside the political structure, and their hopes and expectations for the younger generation. We hope their suggestions will provide guidance to young people now getting deeply involved in social change, and will strengthen their determination to face even more challenges.


I graduated from the Department of Law at National Taiwan University in 1984. When I was in university, I participated in the on-campus UniNews Club; starting from reporting on school affairs and discussing campus democracy, I gradually came into contact with issues affecting various groups in society.

After graduating and becoming a lawyer, I observed or was involved in a lot of cases of domestic violence. For example, in 1993, I was one of the defense attorneys in the case in which Deng Ruwen killed her abusive husband, a case that sent shock waves through the country.

Bringing feminism into the mainstream

From these kinds of cases I discovered that there were many deeply rooted stereotypes in Taiwanese society in which women were judged by unequal standards. For example, people looked askance at women beaten by their husbands, often saying things like "she must have done something wrong to get beaten that way," while women who were sexually assaulted were accused of bringing it on themselves by "wearing too little" or "immoral behavior." The reason I got involved in the gender equality movement was that I hoped that I could apply my understanding of law to raising the status of women at the system level, which would in turn help raise the consciousness and self-awareness of women in Taiwan at an individual level.

In the 1980s and 1990s, feminist issues were still non-mainstream, and this social movement still gave many people a somewhat negative impression. I became deeply convinced at that time that if I wanted to turn around this social environment, it would be necessary to start from "thought reform" at the very roots.

For this reason, those of us in the feminist movement adopted a strategy of gradual expansion, from "points" to "lines" to "fronts." For example, from the Deng Ruwen case we lobbied for passage of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Then, with this legal foundation in place, we pushed the central government to move quickly to establish the Domestic Violence Prevention Committee and the localities to set up domestic violence prevention centers as required in the law. Once this was achieved, abused women throughout Taiwan could seek help from the responsible authorities in each city and county, so that they wouldn't have to suffer endlessly in silence as they had in the past because there was nowhere for them to turn.

Qualitative change from within

After Ma Ying-jeou became president in 2008, then-premier Liu Chao-shiuan invited me to join the cabinet as minister of the Council of Labor Affairs. The most persuasive thing he said to me then was, "Isn't there anything you want to do that you haven't done yet?" I pondered this question, then decided to accept.

What could a person like me, who had always been involved in social activism outside the political system, do at the CLA? I decided that the most important thing would be to promote qualitative change in the system. For example, I found that many people at the CLA had been there for 20 or 30 years, and though they did their jobs conscientiously, they rarely had contact with the outside world, and it was really difficult for them to understand the feelings of the public with regard to either policy formulation or implementation. But after a person like me, with lots of experience on the front lines of activism, took up my post, I would be able to bring in new viewpoints, attitudes, and ways of getting things done. I could not only make decision-making more responsive to the public, I could transcend the rigidified logic of "doing everything strictly by the book, and doing nothing not required by the book."

During my two years in office I have put special emphasis on using systemic guarantees to improve conditions for workers. For example, in July of 2008 we completed amendments to the Labor Insurance Act, finally transforming the old "single settlement" system into an annual pension system. This was the biggest change in the labor insurance system since it was launched 58 years ago. And in March of 2009, the amendments that we wanted to the Employment Insurance Act were passed, extending unemployment benefits for older and handicapped workers from six to nine months, and also adding a subsidy allowing women who want to stay home and raise children to be able to take unpaid leave from their jobs without losing their positions or seniority, which is something that working women had been hoping to get for many years.

Further, given my years of experience as an attorney, I understood very clearly the importance of lawsuits in putting pressure on malicious employers. Therefore we have budgeted NT$50 million per year as a "Labor Rights Fund" to provide subsidies for workers to pay for legal aid and living expenses while lawsuits are in process.

Do your job, and do it well

Taiwan's unemployment rate has hit record highs recently as a result of the global financial storm, and as minister of the CLA naturally I have had to bear with criticism from all sides. Frankly, this was something that I had never experienced in over 20 years of social activism. At first when I saw negative reports in the media I was very bothered, and I would do everything I could to clarify things. But as time passed I stopped worrying, because there is already too much to do as it is, and I can't spend too much time trying to erase black marks against my reputation.

Since I don't belong to any political party, I didn't come into office with any long-term ambitions in mind, so when it's time for me to go I will leave without dragging my feet. But every second that I am inside the political system, I will do whatever I can and fulfill my responsibilities properly. Anyway, I have always felt that people in this society are fair-minded, and I am confident that I could pass any review of my work, so in the future the public will make its own judgment.

These days young activists often come and protest at the CLA. I have the greatest respect for these kids, because they have a great deal of passion for the idea that something should be done not because it will benefit them personally but because it is the right thing to do; they have a strong sense of justice and also must have organizational ability. In fact what they do is not easy. When I see them, it is like seeing myself when I was younger. Of course, in the process of participating in these activities they are setting themselves up for some disappointments and shocks, but in the end these young people will surely discover that when you contribute to social justice, it is you yourself who reaps the biggest personal rewards. That's a conviction that I hold to very strongly after all this time.

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