Taiwan elected their first female president on Jan. 20. Tsai Ing-Wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party, took 56% of the votes, according to Time.
In the beginning, Tsai entered the world of politics as somewhat of an outsider. She was trained as a lawyer at National Taiwan University and continued her education in law, receiving a Ph.D. According to CNN, she is fluent in English and is viewed as the most internationally-minded leader that the island has ever seen.
Although she is Taiwan’s first female president, she is not the first woman in Asia to be chosen as the head of state. However, she is the first to be elected with no form of political, legacy according to CNN.
This moment in history was met with both supporters and opposers.
“Of course there are some people in Taiwan that are still rather traditional and they have some hesitation in considering a woman president,” Tsai said. “But among the younger generation, I think they are generally excited about the idea of having a woman leader. They think it’s rather trendy.”
Tsai has promised to help boost the struggling economy by trading with South, Southeast and East Asia. She has stated that her main concern is addressing the economy while helping Taiwan have its own individuality that will separate it from China. However, in her speech, she spoke further about Taiwan’s hazy relationship with Beijing.
“Both sides have a responsibility to do their utmost to find mutually acceptable ways to interact and ensure no provocation and no surprises,” Tsai said.
She has always favored Taiwan’s independence from the mainland of China, although this could cause potential conflict with China due to Taiwan being an important part of its territory.
Currently, the nation of China is represented by two different authorities; The Republic of China and The People’s Republic of China. The Republic of China has control over the Island of Taiwan.