The representative of North Korea participated in the Best Diplomats conference, where she shared her views about women’s struggles and progress in her country.
In North Korea, women have witnessed notable progress in recent years, gaining rights to vote, access to education, and participation in political processes. The transformation reflects a shifting focus within the women’s rights movement, addressing issues like healthcare, economic inequality, and confronting sexual violence.
North Korean law formally recognizes women’s rights and gender equality, with these principles enshrined in the country’s constitution. Yet, the current regime of Kim Jong Un controls every aspect of life in North Korea, complicating the realization of these rights and freedom.
Despite legal recognition, North Korean women continue to face discrimination, particularly in areas such as education, empowerment, healthcare, and political participation. The deep-rooted societal norms and policies present significant challenges to achieving full gender equality.
During the conference, the representative also shared the significant efforts of North Korean women behind major developments. Access to adequate healthcare and the ability to make decisions about their own lives and bodies are essential components of women’s rights, she added.
In the last 60 years, South Korea’s economy has become 800 times bigger, going from $2 billion in 1961 to $1.6 trillion in 2019. Korean women had a pivotal role in the huge growth of their economy. They worked in factories of textiles, apparel, shoes, and electronic goods. Although many were young, unskilled, and uneducated women, they successfully launched Korean products into the world market in the nation’s initial stage of economic development.
In her closing remarks, the representative said, North Korea’s women are on a path towards a more equitable future, but there is much work to be done and the world’s attention to their struggles and the advocacy for their rights are essential steps on this ongoing journey.