International Women’s Day Report 2011 – 2013

 

 

History of International Women’s Day in South Korea

 

South Korea has celebrated its first International Women’s Day in 1920. However, due to Japanese occupation and increasing oppression in South Korea, Korean women were not able to continue its annual celebration. After the liberation, Korean women were able to celebrate International Women’s Day but were soon prevented from celebratingit in1948. The right to celebrate International Women’s Day was given back to the citizens of Republic of Korea in 1985.

 

In 1985, various women’s rights movements came together in solidarity to hold it’s first annual Women’s Rally, it was created under the theme of "Nation, Democracy, and the People’s Women’s Rights Movement", and in 1986 it was held under the theme of "Democratization and Women’s Livelihood". Since 1987, Korean Women's Association United hasheld the rally and celebrated its 29th International Women’s Day in 2013.

 

International Women’s Day has been celebrated by various women’s rightsgroups and participants included university students, regular citizens, wives, intellectuals, religious organizations, laborers, and it has been celebrated by both men and women. International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year. The agenda is to exhibit the reality of gender inequality in South Korea and to increase awareness of the importance of women’s rights and to empower women.

 

This day has been especially important because the current South Korean government has been neglecting gender equality issues and women’s human rights; therefore, celebrating International Women’s Day has played an important role in supporting the morale of South Korean women that have been struggling for fair and equal economic opportunities andincreasing family and women services.

 

 

Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks& Annual Korean Women’s Rights Activist Award

 

Every  year KWAU recognizes extraordinary individuals/organizations or actions that took part in advancing women’s rights on International Women’s Day. We named these as Stepping Stones to Gender Equality. However, we also highlightedthose that were obstacles to women's right as Stumbling Blocks to Gender Equality.

 

 

Introduction to KWAU

 

Korean Women’s Day Convention was first held in 1985 by Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU).It is comprised of 7 regional chapters and 28 member organizations. For the last 27 years, the KWAU has been advocating for the elimination of paternal inheritance and male as the head of the household system, gender inequality.KWAU has contributed in the enactment of Act on the Prevention Protection of Sexual Traffic, and other women’s rights and gender policies.

 

 

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2011 - Roses and Bread for Her

"Bread and Roses for Her" the Commemoration of 27th Women’s Day Convention South Korea

 

Date: March 7, 2011

Time: 11:00-12:30

Location: Press Conference Room (19th floor), Korea Press Center

Address: Seoul-siJoong-guTaepyeong-Ro, South Korea

 

This year’s name for the commemoration of the 27th Women’s Day Convention in South Korea is "Bread and Roses for Her." International Women’s Day was celebrated 100 years ago in New York by female textile workers protesting for universal suffrage and the ability to form labor unions. At the time, they were demanding for bread and roses.Bread represented livelihood and roses represented right to live. It was a demand fitting for a time when it was the initial phase of industrialization. The question was how to convince South Korea that women are still demanding for Bread and Roses, in a time where society believes that gender inequality has been a thing of the past, and the fact that there is a growing number of female discrimination.

 

Women were granted universal suffrage in South Korea since 1948; however, Seoul YMCA did not grant female membership to their General Assembly until 2010. Out of tens of thousands branches of YMCA across the world, Seoul YMCA was uniquely the only branch that did not allow female membership to their General Assembly. It took Seoul YMCA almost 8 years to make policies changes to allow female membership in their general assembly. In South Korea, universal suffrage is still being fought for and that is the reality.

 

2011’s Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks of Gender Equality

 

Stepping Stones of Gender Equality

1.    Kiyung Electronics branch of the metal industrial union, the symbolic representative for women’s labor movement, for their struggle to abolish the illegal dispatching and indirect employment of irregular work for the last 6 years

2.    'Banoullim' for their struggle and effort to bring labor health rights by visually uncovering the dark reality of the semiconductor industry’s working conditions

3.    MBC’s current documentary "W" Production team, for showing the reality of women’s rights in Korea

 

Stumbling Blocks of Gender Equality

1.    Kang Yong Suk, a member of the Parliament, losing his right to be in his position because of sexual harassments&sexist comments

2.    An advertisement video for the Saenuri Party’s June 2nd local elections,"Magnifying Glass during Electoral Season"

3.    A public prosecutor getting pardoned for his role in purchasing sex that angered Korean citizens across the nation

 

2011 Winner of Korean Women’s Rights Activist Award

 

"Neomeoseo" a member solidarity group for the abolishment of sexual discrimination in YMCA Seoul for leading the struggle, and gaining the victory, against religious gender discriminations by allowing women suffrage in YMCA Seoul

 

 


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PROMISES in 2012!

International Women’s Day in 2012 - 28th Women’s Day Convention

Date: March 8, 2012

Time: 11:00 - 4:00

Location: City Hall Square in Seoul

Address: Seoul City Hall, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

For the 28th anniversary of Women’s Day Convention, the KWAU has decided to take the celebration to the streets. The organization committee of this event gathered 284 civil societies, and advocated for the rights of all minorities from different socioeconomic backgrounds. We were all there to support International Women’s Day for Women’s Rights.

 

The opening ceremony and the commemoration took place at the City Hall with opening and supporting speeches made by representatives of supporting NGOs, politicians, and celebrities. The ceremony included performances from members of KWAU and live concert performed by Lee Han Chul’s Band. The opening ceremony was followed by street parades and grand dance performance at the Seoul Station Square.

 

The main purpose of the 28th anniversary of Women’s Day Convention was to demand and secure promises in 2012. We demand that the South Korean government promises for:

 

"Gender Equality"

We demand that the government of South Korea to promote gender equality and the expansion of universal welfare programs based on women's lifestyles, and demand the government to begin a reconciling system for men and women who have been victimized by gender oppression and discrimination. We believe that gender equality will enhance sustainable economic growth and that it is essential for human development.

 

"Peaceful society for men and women"

It is a contradiction to talk about the development of sustainable society without addressing the reality of discrimination and violence against women, a population group that accounts for half of the world’s (and South Korea’s) population. We would like the government to promise to develop effective gender policies and to build a peaceful society that protects women from violence and guarantees women’s safety, and takes care of the socially disadvantaged and increases sensitivity for human rights issues.

 

"Happiness for the 99%"

Through our unique social status culture, our society has become preoccupied by excessive consumption, created anxiety through our competitiveness nature, furthered environmental damages, deepened inequalities of health, socioeconomic status, furthered monopoly and exploitation of natural resources, practiced unequal distribution, and increased discrimination and violence against the socially disadvantaged. These issues are slowly taking a toll on the society’s happiness. We hope that the government will promise happiness for the 99% and create a win-win situation for the society and the government through job creation, securing and increasing quality of our social security net, reduce tuition, develop labor laws to better cope with work-life balance, and develop public care system.

 

2012’s Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks of Gender Equality

 

Stepping Stones of Gender Equality

 

1.    “Little Flower”, a female special-contracted worker for winning against Hyundai motors

2.    West local labor union branch of Hongik University, for bringing the reality of women workers subjected to weak labor conditions into light

3.    The council that lead Korea University’s Reconsideration of Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Campusprogramafter a female medical student has been sexually violated inside the university

 

Stumbling Blocks of Gender Equality

1.    Judge Na Sang Hoon, for issuing light sentences to 16 student perpetrators of rape against a disabled female middle school student in Daejeon

2.    Pohang Nambu Police Station, for going against their duty by collaborating with brothels

3.    Chairman Kim Hyung Oh and 134 members of the House, for protecting and rejecting a proposal to remove a member of the Parliament accused (convicted) of sexual harassment

 

2012 Winner of Korean Women’s Rights Activist Award

 

Jaenung Education Branch of Korean home school materials industry workers Unionfor raising awareness about the injustices towards special contracted workers*

 

*Special contracted workers are a cross of contract temporary work and full time work. Special contracted workers are exploited to work as full time employees without receiving any of the benefits that the full time workers get.

 

 

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2013 Women, A World Without Poverty and Violence

International Women’s Day in 2013 - 29th Women’s Day Convention

Date: March 8th, 2013

Time: 11:00 - 12:00

Location: City Hall in Seoul

Address:Seoul City Hall, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

Women’s livelihood has been getting worse in various sectors of society. However, there has been an increase of perception that women’s socio-economic factors has been improving, and people have started to lose interest in the issues of women’s livelihood. Increase in female enrollment of university, increase judicial examination, the election of a female president does not mean that the discrimination against women’s livelihood has vanished. Our current President Park Geun-Hye administration’s "Happy Pension" cannot cover retirement pension nor eliminate the problem of irregular or low-income work that majority of women are placed in. The purpose of "International Women’s Day in 2013 – 29th Women’s Day Convention" was to present projects based on solutions to eliminate discrimination, poverty and violence against women. The reason why these subjects, which were introduced in the 70s, are presented again in 2013 is because women are currently at the center of poverty and violence. After the financial crisis, unstable employment forced women to rely on the welfare system and many have dipped into poverty. Women are still not free from dangers of sexual harassment, sexual violence, prostitution, and domestic violence. Opposition and tension between the North and South Korea could lead danger for South Korean citizens. Park’s administration must reassess the current situation of women and shift its policies towards better living for women in South Korea. In order to create a world without poverty and violence in South Korea, we must make 9 projects that we have listed below into reality.

 

A World Without Poverty

South Korea’s female economic participation rate is at 49.7%, and it is significantly lower than the OECD member states’ average of 64%. South Korea has the widest gender wage gap amongst the OECD countries. At 38.9%, South Korea’s gender wage gap is 2.6 times larger than the OECD member states’ average of 15%. Furthermore, 61.5% of all workers in South Korea that receive lower than the minimum wage are women and 61.8% of female workers are irregular workers and they outweigh men in this sector by 1.5 times. Many women in Korea are not able to find decent work, and often experience career interruption. Women workers are often placed in poor working conditions and/or environments. Since most women are low-income or irregular workers, women often don’t receive social benefits to protect them and may fall into anxiety when they become ill or retire of old age. The growing population of women in poverty, due to the polarization in socioeconomic status, must be reverted.

 

A World Without Violence

For the last 3 years, reports of sexual violence cases rose to 20,000 and with a 10% report rate, it has been estimated that there could be up to 200,000 incidents of sexual violence in South Korea. However, indictment rate did not exceed 41.0% and only 1.2% of those that were convicted were sentenced. Also, out of the 53.8% cases of spousal abuse, only 8.3% of these cases get reported to the authorities. Even with laws to prevent and persecute sexual violence, the Korean government often sees sexual violence as a personal problem. Policies to prevent crimes, protect victims, and persecute offenders are not implemented well. To eradicate and prevent sexual violence, society as a whole must be sensitive to these human rights issues, and we must exert great effort to end violence in our society. Also, to keep peace on the Korean Peninsula, we maintain peace between the two countries.

 

A World Without Neglect and Discrimination

The purpose of a democratic society is to end inequality. In our society, migrant women, women with disabilities, unmarried women, single women, single parent women, LGBT women, and elderly women face double discrimination as they are considered a woman and a minority.

 

Single parent women, unmarried mothers, and elderly women are increasingly becoming the head of the household, but still remain to have low employment rate and often have low income jobs. Therefore most of these families are economically fragile. Only 58.4% of families of women as the head of the household are employed, compared to 85.3% of families of men as the head of the household. Furthermore, families with women as the head of the household earned only half of what families of men as the head of the household earned.

 

Migrant women, women with disabilities, LGBT women, and women with variety of identities face constant social judgments and discrimination in employment, and do not receive social and livelihood security. To improve women’s socioeconomic livelihood, the society must take interest in women’s rights and set up policies to prevent discrimination.

 

9 Projects to Create a Society Without Poverty and Violence Against Women

1.    Change the status of 200,000 irregular women workers in the public sector into regular workers

2.    Close the gender wage gap to conform with the OECD member states’ average

3.    Develop a comprehensive welfare system for all women

4.    National educational program to eradicate sexual violence

5.    Increase prosecutionof perpetrators in the sex industry, and decriminalization ofwomen in prostitution

6.    Seek to change the Korean Armistice Agreement into Korean Peace Agreement, and guarantee discussions between North and South Korean women

7.    To guarantee the freedom and a safe stay of migrant women

8.    To construct a safety system for women with disabilities

9.    Approval of pregnancy leave at the workplace

 

2013’s Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks of Gender Equality

 

Stepping Stones of Gender Equality

1.     National Congress of School Irregular Workers Solidarity, for revealing the reality of school irregular workers' working condition

2.     Seoul’s model policy to increase public day care center

3. The public's action for eradication of violence against women and for memorial of women victims of violence, which increasedpublic interest in violence against women

 

Stumbling Blocks of Gender Equality

1.    Kim Hyung Tae, a General Assembly member, for committingintrafamilial sexual violence offence

2.    Pyeongtaek Police Department, Suwon Supreme Prosecutors’ Office – Pyeongtaek Branch, and Suwon District Court for incompetent investigation practices because of her age in the 60s

3.    Review Committee of Legal Translationfor the Korean government authorizing the statement that parental leave cannot be considered as work experience

 

2013 Winner of Korean Women’s Rights Activist Award

 

EunSooYeon, the author of, Even Tears Shine with Light,Korea’s first memoir of a survivor ofintrafamilial sexual violence,for breaking the bias against the sexual violence victims

 

Contact Info

Planning Director -Sujung Kang

T: +82 2 313 1632

F: +82 2 313 1649

E: pd@women21.or.kr

 

Website & Social Media

http://www.women38.or.kr

Twitter: @38womensday

 

Media

Pictures + Videos

 


 

EVENTS in 2013 –Opening Ceremony

 

1) Date & Time

08 March 2013 - 11:00 to 12:00

 

2) Event Name

Opening Ceremony

 

3) About

·         Emcee: Kwon HaeHyo (representative of KWAU, actor)

·         Opening Ceremony

·         Introduction

·         29th Women’s Day Convention presentation

·         Introduction of all the participants and congratulatory messages

·         Stepping stones and stumbling blocks of women’s rights in Korea

·         Presentation of this year’s winner of Korean Women’s Rights Activist Award

·         Special International Women’s Day performance

 

4) Venue

8th Floor of the New Seoul City Hall, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

5) Organization

Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU) is comprised of 7 regional chapters and 28 member organizations. For the last 27 years, the KWAU has been advocating for gender inequality and women’s rights and gender policies.

 

6) Website

http://www.38women.co.kr

 

EVENTS in 2013 – Pleasant Citizen Fair

 

1) Date & Time

07 March 2012 –14:00 – 19:00

 

2) Event Name

Pleasant Citizen Fair

 

3) About

·         Open market for clothes, miscellaneous goods, living goods, organic cotton pads, accessories, etc.

·         Booths to explore multiculturalism, check ups and health consultations for women, etc.\

·         Booths for workplace survey, questionnaires regarding women’s movement, campaign against sexual violence, etc.

 

4) Venue

Citizen Plaza at the New Seoul City Hall, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

5) Organization

Korean Women’s Day Conventionwas first held in 1985 by Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU) and it comprised of 7 regional chaptersand 28 member organizations. For the last 27 years, the KWAU has been advocating for the elimination of paternal inheritance and headship system, gender inequality and the enactment of Prostitution Act, and other women’s rights and gender policies.

 

6) Website

http://www.38women.co.kr

 

 

EVENTS in 2013 – Pleasant EulogyFestival to Commemorate 29th Anniversary of International Women’s Day – "Sing for Livelihood" and "Sing for our lives"

 

1) Date & Time

07 March 2012 - 19:00 to 21:00

 

2) Event Name

Pleasant Eulogy Festival to Commemorate 29th Anniversary of International Women’s Day – "Sing for Livelihood"

 

3) About

·         Theme: What kind of life do you want to live? I want to live like this! Creating your very own personal pleasant eulogy.

·         Participants: Kwon HaeHyo (KWAU representative, actor), Kim MiHwa (Entertainer, KWAU representative), BaeSoonTaek (Pop Columnist, Writer for "BaeCheolSoos Music Camp), Lee Ja Ram (Singer) and Jang Hang Joon (Movie Director)

 

4) Venue

8th Floor of the New Seoul City Hall, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

5) Organization

Korean Women’s Day Convention was first held in 1985 by Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU) and it comprised of 7 regional chaptersand 28 member organizations. For the last 27 years, the KWAU has been advocating for the elimination of paternal inheritance and headship system, gender inequality and the enactment of Prostitution Act, and other women’s rights and gender policies.

 

6) Website

http://www.38women.co.kr

 

EVENT 2012 - Promises in 2012!

 

1) Date & Time

08 March 2012 - 11:00 to 16:00

 

2) Event Name

Promises in 2012! Promise for gender equality! Promise for a Peaceful World! Promise Happiness for the 99%!

 

3) About

Come join us at the City Hall of Seoul for an organization committee and gathering of 284 civil societies advocating for the rights of all socioeconomic backgrounds and all walks of different lives to support for International Women’s Day for Women’s Rights.

 

4) Venue

Seoul City Hall, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

5) Organization

Korean Women’s Day Conventionwas first held in 1985 by Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU) and it comprised of 7 regional chapters and 28 member organizations. For the last 27 years, the KWAU has been advocating for the elimination of paternal inheritance and headship system, gender inequality and the enactment of Prostitution Act, and other women’s rights and gender policies.

 

6) Website

http://www.women38.co.kr

 

 

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