Over 90% of people surveyed regard the sex trade as a crime; government helps the victims of the sex trade
The sex trade prevention act、which went into effect on September 23, 2004, has heightened both the public awareness of sex trade as a crime and Korea's international image as a country concerned with its citizen's human rights. By revising the Act on Prevention of Prostitution, Etc. to include changing the word "prostitution" into "sex trade" this revision has fundamentally shifted the status of women in the sex trade from criminals to victims. Further, central and local governments are now required to aid its victims. A survey commissioned by the Ministry of Gender Equality, found that 94.9% of the respondents viewed the sex trade as a crime thus providing justification for the revision.
MOGE Realigned into Ministry of Gender Equality & Family
Reorganized Ministry to serve as a think tank for new family policies
In response to strong public sentiment on the part of Korean women, the Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE), which set sail in January, 2001 as a central administrative agency to plan and coordinate gender policies, was reorganized as the Ministry of Gender Equality & Family (MOGEF) on June 23. The reorganization is designed to introduce new policies for families such as the establishment of "The 'Dolbom' (Caretaker) Network" at the community level. In addition, the new ministry will be involved in the formulation of integrated family policies as well as the coordination, support, and evaluation of them. The ministry will implement the Bureau of Family Policies to be composed of three divisions: Division of Family Policies, Division of Family Support, and Division of Family Culture. To strengthen the network of domestic and foreign women's organizations the ministry will hire a director general for external cooperation.
"Hoju": The Old Family Registry System is History
Prohibition on marriage of couples with the same origin family names and the waiting period before the remarriage of divorced women also were abolished. Children may choose the mother's family name if parents agree.
The National Assembly passed a bill to abolish of the Hoju System, or the Family Registry System, at a plenary session on March 2. Accordingly, the traditional Hoju System, which has been under fire as a patriarchal, gender discriminatory system since its enactment in 1958, becomes a new status registration system on January 1, 2008. The current system, therefore, will remain in effect until the end of 2007. The bill also abolished the prohibition on the marriage of couples with the same origin surnames and the 6-month waiting period for divorced women who wish to remarry. A child will take the father's surname in principle, but he or she will be allowed to use the mother's surname when the parents agree, according to the bill.
Amid a Looming Crisis Over Low Fertility and Aging Population, the Women's Rights and Interests Act clears the National Assembly
The president to head a panel on low fertility rate and aging society; the revised Equal Employment Act demands government pay entire salary for 90-day maternity leave
Bills for women's affairs that were passed by extraordinary sessions of the National Assembly in April were highly significant in terms of women's rights and interests. The Basic Act on Fertility and Aging Society, among others, was written to cope with Korea's world's lowest fertility rate of 1.19, and the rapid aging of Korean society. The act calls for establishment of a committee for low fertility and aging society to be chaired by the President. The salary that a female worker gets during the 90 days of her maternity leave would now be entirely paid by the government.
The 7th Women's Film Festival Held in Seoul
86 films from 27 counties featured
The 7th Women's Film Festival was held at the Artreon Cinema in Shinchon from April 8th to 15th. Eighty-six films from 27 countries were shown with the support of the "Young Feminist Forum" and "Feminine Film Society". Ninety screenings attracted 33,000 fans or 90% of the theater's capacity. The Film Festival also featured a number of side events including an international forum entitled "Sex Trade in Asia and Video Activism".
Sisterhood Formed Between 84 Lawmakers and 55 Women's Organizations
"Women's groups need to support and oversee us to make the 17th-term Assembly a symbol of gender equality."
Committing themselves to realizing gender equality, 84 members of the National Assembly's forum for gender equality (Co-chaired by Reps. Kim-choon Jin, Lee Kei-kyung, Park Sei-hwan, Lee Eun-young) and heads of women's organizations established a sisterhood relationship at a ceremony held at the main building of the Assembly on June 1. More than 20 lawmakers on hand promised to support activities of women's organizations, while the 30-odd heads of women's organizations pledged to support, supervise, and evaluate their parliamentary activities.
Korea Attracts Focus on Women's Studies
The 9th Women's Worlds 2005 Held June 19-24
The 9th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women, or Women's Worlds 2005 (WW05) was held in Seoul from June 19 to 24 Under the theme "Embracing the Earth: East-West/North-South". 2063 scholars from 70 countries participated in the Congress, at which 530 sessions were held and 2087 papers presented. The event was the largest ever held since its inception in Israel in 1981.
Nine Companies Win Equal Employment Awards
Female workers recruited by Samsung SDS, Pantech account for over 30% on average
Celebrating equal employment week, an awards ceremony for the 5th Equal Employment day was held at the COEX Grand Ballroom on April 1. Nine businesses and 20 individuals were awarded prizes for their dedication to equal employment opportunities, maternity protection, support for workplace and home, employment of female workforce, and development of occupational skills. A presidential commendation was bestowed on Samsung SDS (President & CEO Kim In), prime minister's commendations went to Designhouse (President Kim Young-hye), Pantech's Gimpo Factory (President & CEO Lee Sung-kyu), Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center (President Seo Soo-ji) and Jeil Electrical Machinery Industry (President & CEO Kang Jong-tae). In 2004, the ratio of female employees newly recruited by these awardees amounted to more than 30% on average. The ratios at Pantech's Gimpo Factory and Andong Medical Center in Gyeongbuk stood at 65% and 64% respectively, while the ratio at Designhouse stood at 50%.
Women's Participation in Economic Activities Passes the 10 Million Landmark
An increase of 8.4% over 5 years; growth outpaces that of men
The number of women active in economic activities finally passed 10 million last year. The figure surpassed 10 million last May and even more in June、Marking an increase of 8.4% from 5 years ago.
A Museum on War and Women's Rights Proposed
Proposed in 2003, the project attracts contributions from individuals
The proposal for the construction of a museum on war and women's rights, dedicated to the victims of Imperial Japan's sex slavery, is gathering steam. The proposal, which dates back to 1994 when the Council on Comfort Women originated the movement, has been gaining momentum. After the initiation of the project in December 2003, contributions have been flowing in since December 2004. Now totaling more than 2000 individuals。The proposed museum will feature an educational hall, a war and women's rights hall, an experience hall, a documentary hall and a special exhibition hall.
The 13th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists Scheduled for August 26
Bridges for exchanges between female scientists to be built
The 13th International Conference of the Women Engineers and Scientists will be held at Ewha Womans University August 26-29. The Conference, hosted by The Association of Korean Women Scientists and Engineers (KWSE) and sponsored by the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists、comes to Asia for the second time after being held in Japan. The Conference is expected to build bridges between women's science in the first world and the third world. The conference also welcomes college and high school students through cooperation with local career centers.