3.8 세계여성의날 기념 한국여성대회
[3.8 여성대회 후기] “The Women’s Day is Festival that everybody can enjoy” 본문
[3.8 여성대회 후기] “The Women’s Day is Festival that everybody can enjoy”여성의날 여성연합 2015.03.19 13:45
[2015 International Women’s Day in South Korea]
“The Women’s Day is Festival that everybody can enjoy”
On a calm Sunday morning, people wearing purple gloves gathered at the Gwang hwa mun Plaza to prepare for International Women’s Day in South Korea. They were the organizers and youth volunteer workers who believe in the spirit of the equality among genders, and closely relate with the first trigger for women’s day when thousands of women laborers went out to the streets to demand for wage increase and women suffrage in New York on March 8th, 1908. Since then, Women’s day has been celebrated around the world to promote equality and freedom for women and this year’s Women’s day slogan was “Equality for women is progress for all”.
By 10am, the stage for the award ceremony was installed in front of the Sejong King Statute, hundreds of chairs were neatly aligned for the spectators, and on both sides of the audience seat event booths were lined up for NGOs. The 18 different groups including Military Human Rights Center, Federation for Resolving Prostitution, Korea Calligraphy Association prepared different activities, brochures and goods to promote their causes to citizens. Cheerful music added to the vibrant atmosphere as curious passers-by visited the booths, learned new things, and received an unexpected gift.
One booth that was especially popular was the Korean Calligraphy Association booth as calligraphers gracefully wrote phrases for citizens and gave it to them as presents. One of the volunteer, Mr. Min-Yong Park(50) said that there is “still a lot of inequality in terms of working rights for women”. He added that writing calligraphy for the participants of this event helped him to connect with each one of them, creating a mutual bond under common belief in equality for women. Indeed, many people young and old, men and women visited the booth and left with a present and a wide smile across their face.
Then, as time for the Women’s day ceremony neared, organized groups of Purple walkers who paraded the city began to enter the plaza. After Hundreds walkers sat in the prepared seats with the sun at its zenith, the time was ripe for the ceremony commencement. The ceremony was started by opening speech from the joint representatives of Korean women’s Association United Geum Ok Kim and Mun Ja Jeong who expressed regret in that “Women’s right quotient of Korea is ranked one of the lowest among OECD member states, violence against women is continuing while women’s movement has been stalled, and discrimination against women is increasing in the media”. Furthermore, they emphasized that “Equality for women is not just for the sake of women but is a progress for all.”
Then, there was the award ceremony for this year’s women’s movement which was awarded to National House Managers Cooperative which worked to promote house management as respectable labor and to improve social perception of house management. Next was the award ceremony of Gender Equality Obstacle and Stepping Stone awards. Spectators booed when the Gender Equality Obstacle award was awarded to a few including Lieutenant Noh who claims innocence while his sexual assault against his junior officer caused the victim to commit suicide. On the other hand, the audience cheered for the Gender Equality Stepping Stone award winners one of whom was the Renault-Samsung joint task force that brought the issue of penalizing victims of sexual harassment at workplace to surface. Other distinguished guest such as the mayor of Seoul Mr. Won Soon Park, and New Politics Democratic Party leader Jae In Moon also attended the ceremony at front row seats. Lastly, actress Hae Mi Park excited the crowd and moved them all to dance by giving a performance where she sang and danced to the song ‘Dancing Queen’.
The end of the song brought the completion of the ceremony. Although the ceremony ended many still remained at the plaza and enjoyed the event by visiting different booths that opened until 5pm. The Women’s Day was indeed a festival that everybody could enjoy. As such, women’s Day was attended not only by women but also other minorities such as LGBT communities and young military recruits. Women’s day incorporated within its influence, not only their rights but the rights of other underrepresented groups. As progress was made in the enhancement of women’s rights, we could see that rights of other people were being secured. Indeed, that ‘Equality for women is progress for all’ rings true and it is something that I hope that everyone believe in as well.
Tae Yeon Kim (KWAU voluntary reporter)
Photo by Jong Min Na
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