“My world has been confined to a small community. Looking at spectacular female leaders in the globe, I thought that I want to have a wide range of perspectives and ideas. It sure was a stimulating, refreshing experience.” (Shin Myeongwha)
“I have had lectures on women leadership, but nothing like this before. The forum motivated me to think about the role of women leaders throughout regional and global communities. I am grateful for the opportunity.”(Kim Seongnim)
Kangnam Senior Welfare Center Director Shin Myeongwha and Woongjin Homeschool Branch Manager Kim Seongnim said that, though they themselves are professional women leaders in their respective fields, an encounter with global female leaders that took place in Jeju Island at the end of May was ‘a whole new experience and a strong motivation.’ The global forum was an eye-opening experience for them because they had never been to a session that stressed the need to establish global networks and pursue personal development.
The 2014 Regional Women Leaders Global Exchange Project was sponsored by Dongjak-gu Office and organized by the Dongjak Women Leadership Development Center. Funded by Dongjak-gu’s gender equality fund, the project aims to provide opportunities for community women leaders to develop global leadership, a growth engine for the future.
Going beyond offering a women leadership training workshop, a gathering for women groups, and a leadership academy, the project allows participants to push ahead with professional projects that require global networks. The Dongjak Women Leadership Development Center Director Lee Hyeonah explained “The purpose is to train community female leaders to equip themselves with skills and capabilities in accordance with changes in our society.”
Held between May 22 and 23, the program was participated by ten female leaders including Shin and Kim. On the first day, Professor Woo Kidong of the Humanitas College of Kyunghee University delivered a special lecture on female leadership in the global community. On the second day, participants had a field trip to the Jeju International Peace Center and attended the Business and Professional Women conference at which they formed networks with global women leaders. Lee emphasized “One of the goals was to provide opporunities for participants to meet a community of women leaders from around the world and forge networks with them.”
It is very rare for regional governments to provide a women leadership training program where participants can join the global community and form networks. This is why the recent program receives a lot of attention. Indeed, Dongjak-gu has implemented diverse policies and projects to promote women’s status. In recognition of such efforts to execute policies on women and family, it has been awarded with grand prizes for two years in a row in 2012 and 2013. Kim Yeonsoon, the chief of the department of family and welfare at Dongjak-gu Office, commented “We should go beyond the horizon and pay earnest attention to what policies on women other countries have or the current status of women and women leaders overseas. Thanks to the gender equality fund, we just took our first step. We hope that the project would continue to evolve.”
Kim said she wanted to participate in the BPW conference for the entire 5 days, adding “This time, we only observed the conference. But next time, we want to take part in discussions in different seminars. I am going to share the energy I got with my colleagues.”
Shin hoped “As always, everything begins with a single step. We want to create a network of our own to contribute to our community.”
On June 19, 10 women who attended the program launched a network and discussed ways to grow it into a global female community and network.