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Taiwan's falling birthrate 'threatens its economic security'

World's lowest fertility rate set to cause permanent population decline

In 2020, Taiwan recorded negative population growth for the first time since records began, with 173,156 deaths and 165,249 births, according to the Ministry of the Interior.    © Reuters

TAIPEI -- In February 2020, Gao, a 32-year-old administrative officer working in the Hsinchu Science Park, a technology hub southwest of Taipei, fell over in the office. She was pregnant, a doctor told her, but her excitement ended when she was abruptly dismissed by her employer, Dase-Sing Packaging Technology. The company said the COVID-19 pandemic had forced it to restructure, but Gao was the only employee let go.

Gao took the dismissal order to court, and won her case in November. Her story encapsulates the deep-rooted pregnancy discrimination in many Taiwanese companies. It also highlights the fear among many young working women of leaving their jobs temporarily to give birth -- a sentiment that is undermining the Taiwan government's efforts to boost the country's alarmingly low birthrate.

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