After years and years and years of male leaders, the next president of Taiwan is *definitely* going to be a woman - even though the elections haven't taken place yet...
Here’s a fun game: try to picture David Cameron as a woman.
Now try to picture, well, for now let’s picture Ed Miliband as a woman too. (Don’t worry, we’ll update this article in September when his replacement is announced.)
And now try to picture how the General Election in May could have gone differently, had their female counterparts been up against one another instead. Which policies they might have prioritised, which questions might have been answered, and even whether you’d have voted differently on the day itself.
Even if you reckon things would have played out in exactly the same way, there’s no denying the fact that there would have been something exciting about the idea of having not just one, but two female candidates leading the main political parties.
Which is why everything that’s going on in Taiwan at the moment is so amazing.
The current ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) has confirmed that Hung Hsiu-chu, 67, is its candidate for the election. Meanwhile the Democratic Progressive Party, who are Kuomintang’s main opposition, have announced Tsai Ing-Wen, 58, as their potential leader.
And in case you haven’t already gathered – they’re both women. Neither of whom come from political backgrounds – instead working their way up to the top of the political leaderboard over time.
As it stands, Taiwan has had a female Vice President (from 2000 – 2008) but a female president is unheard of, as is the idea of two women running against one another. But the majority of the population seems hopeful that whoever wins the election will be able to help resolve the economic and social divides that have caused unrest across the country over the last few years.
“I don’t really care if it’s a man or woman. What I care about is whether the candidate is capable and can make our country’s economy better,” says Lin Chia-chen, a 20-year-old first-time voter in an interview with the BBC.
‘Looking at other countries, we see that if the president is a woman, the level of polarization is rather low and divisiveness drops, but we don’t know why,’ adds Lin Jih-wen, a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Political Science. ‘We have seen this in Germany, Ireland and Finland, but we don’t know if it will have a similar effect on Taiwan.’