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South Korea’s Struggle for Women’s Rights: A Call for Solidarity

The representative of South Korea has shed light on the ongoing struggles of women these days. She gave her remarks during the Best Diplomats conference in Turkey.  

As South Korea has a rich cultural history deeply influenced by Confucianism, a tradition that has posed significant challenges to women’s rights. Dating back to the 1980s, Korean women have been engaged in a historical struggle to secure their place in society and gain equal rights. Despite their unwavering determination, progress towards gender equality has been slow in South Korea.

The South Korean representative said, one of the key areas in need of transformation is women’s political representation. South Korea lags behind in this aspect, with only a small percentage of women holding political office. The underrepresentation not only limits the perspectives that shape policies but also perpetuates gender inequalities. South Korea is keen to eliminate gender discrimination by actively promoting and supporting women’s involvement in politics.

Reproductive choices are another important aspect of women’s rights that require immediate attention. In her speech, the delegate said, South Korean women should have the liberty to make decisions regarding their bodies and reproductive health without societal or governmental interference. 

The most alarming concern is the increasing prevalence of hate crimes against women in South Korea. The trend necessitates swift and effective measures to protect women from violence and discrimination. The South Korean delegate acknowledged that addressing these issues is not only a matter of safeguarding the well-being of its citizens but also a moral obligation to humanity as a whole.

On the other hand, amidst these challenges, South Korean women have displayed remarkable resilience. Movements like “MeToo” and women’s rights advocacy groups have risen to confront patriarchal norms, sparking important conversations and demanding change. These movements are a testament to the strength and determination of South Korean women in their quest for equality.

In South Korea, significant strides have been made in promoting women’s rights, with 91.7% of relevant legal frameworks in place and a substantially reduced adolescent birth rate. However, the path to gender equality remains challenging. 

The representative emphasized that women’s political representation is notably low, with just 19% of parliamentary seats held by women as of February 2021. At the same time, alarming statistics reveal that 8% of women aged 15-49 reported experiencing physical and sexual violence from intimate partners in the past year. Disparities persist in unpaid care and domestic work as well, with women dedicating 14% of their time compared to men’s 4.4%. 

Bridging these data gaps is crucial for achieving gender-related Sustainable Development Goals in the Republic of Korea. In an international call to action, the representative urges fellow nations and developed countries to address the pressing issues faced by its women. Gender inequality is not a challenge unique to one nation, solidarity and cooperation are essential to combat it on a global scale, she added. 

South Korea’s recognition of its historical struggle, slow progress, and urgent need for change in women’s rights is a vital step towards a more equitable society. By advocating for gender equality and challenging patriarchal norms, South Korea hopes to lead the way for positive change, not only within its borders but across the globe.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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