With female power reaching record high, let’s review women politicians’ climb to top in the last 30 years

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Taiwan

Publishing organisation: Central News Agency

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-10-24

Language: Chinese

Authors: Wu Kuan-hsien, Lee Yi-tien, Chien Yi-hui, Chen Wen-shian, Liu Zi-jia


The Central News Agency launched its Media Lab in July 2018 to cope with new challenges that come with the digital era. Since then, the lab has released special reports which are often experimental in nature, examples of innovative technologies being applied to the media industry.

Project description:

This project focuses on female politicians who have won direct elections in significant political positions in the last 30 years. Data released by Taiwan’s Central Elections Committee was sorted out for this purpose. The project visualized the year of their wins, the positions won, and the time duration that these politicians stayed in these positions in one interactive chart. We also sorted out and explained some common patterns and contexts that make the political wins possible for these women in power.

Impact reached:

In Taiwan’s regional elections in November, 2022, the participation rate of women running for mayor and council have reached record high, showing that Taiwan has come a long way from a highly patriarchal society to one in which women are confident enough to compete for positions of power. The purpose of the project is to lay out the socio-political backgrounds that have made this possible and to present the political paths that these female politicians have taken to gain success in their careers. In addition to applauding their success, presenting the common patterns leading to success also adds nuance to the complexities of society and especially politics to this seemingly feminist victory.

Techniques/technologies used:

We primarily used spreadsheets and pivot tables to categorize and sort through the many elections that have occurred in the past 30 years. Much of the relevant data was scattered across many files and needed to be tidied up. The aggregated data was then explored on many different aspects to find any significant patterns and points worthy of note. The results of the explorations had to be referenced across one another for more statistical analyses and insights. The data was finally portrayed as an aggregated whole for readers to explore.

Context about the project:

The original data that we worked on from Taiwan’s Central Elections Committee contained many errors and lacked data on many election events, like by-elections or elections that dated too far back. The election events and results missing from the official data had to be researched through other reliable sources, including parliamentary archives that were scanned from printed material. Apart from having to work with data that was hard to access, the team had to manually file through personal portfolios of politicians, risking overlooking important information of politicians or election results which would compromise the comprehensiveness of our report and its conclusions.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

The many limits to the currently available data released officially is well-known among fellow data journalists in Taiwan. Therefore, setting realistic boundaries has been one main issue for the project. Data not included in the official files is scattered with low accessibility but is also massive. In order to reach a reasonable balance between comprehensiveness and affordability of resources like time, we had to clearly define the project to deal with women elected of certain election levels within a certain period of time. This is important for our project to portray influential history and individuals who have made history comprehensively.

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