Recap: 818 Interview with Ah Yi

For the entire team, the last day of interviews was at a university in Yilan. We had three interviewees. Two interviewers were assigned to each interviewee. Ashley and I were assigned to Ah Yi (her nickname), a restaurant co-owner in one of the cafeteria areas of the university. She owned the restaurant with her older sister. She has three sisters. Of the three she is the middle child. Many aspects of her business are circumscribed within the university since the university is quite isolated from the rest of Yilan. During the interview, we found the following regarding Ah Yi’s experience:
•    Business Identity: Not very different from her role as a mother. She treated the students as her children (her own are around the same age). However, Ah Yi mentioned that the only difference between home and work was that she was simply the difference between home and work: at home she is able to relax.
•    Business design: Aside form learning the skills, communicating with suppliers, and constructing relationships with customers, Ah-Yi and her sister did not have much say in the design. The design was constructed by the university and is renovated from time to time by the university. Her conception of the design is that it should be simple and bight.
•    Sacrifices: Ah Yi spent most of her time working at the university during the weekdays (Mon. to Fri.). She left for work before her children would rise and returned from work after her children slept. She was only home during the weekends. She said that she sacrificed the time she could have spent with her children during their childhood.
o    Her husband shared household duties with her which included taking care of the children. He would always wait for her to return
•    Feminism: Does not see herself as a feminist. Her perception of feminism is that of the female CEO of HTC—a “nu qiang ren” or a female that is strong (physically and emotionally) and does not require a man’s aid. She seemed a bit upset when admitting to this.
o    However, other feminists may argue that her current situation is exemplary of the feminist ideal which is an interdependence between Ah Yi and her husband. Ah Yi’s perception of feminism is of the situation that females occupy the higher positions of power as such females successfully compete with males.
My impression: Ah-Yi is quite different from JM of Tunghai Youth Hostel. JM was already successful from her occupation and was able to take time off to care for her children. Of all of the interviews I have conducted, Ah- Yi was the most emotionally affected conversations about feminism and sacrifices as a female entrepreneur. It seems that Ah-Yi’s entrepreneurship was not one based purely on choice, dreams, and being an independent female—as was prominent in many of our interviewees–but rather her occupation was based on need to provide for her family. She still very much values the traditional family model. Since the university dominates many aspects of the business, the business may not mean much else besides a means of provided for her family. She is more a female entrepreneur out of necessity rather than a female entrepreneur with a creative and self-fulfilling goal as many of our other interviewees were. Perhaps, this contributes to her perception of herself as a feminist (she has a stricter, more stereotypic definition of feminism than the rest of our interviewees.

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