The Women's News - founded in 1988 by women who created and owned the stocks to an alternative press for women, the disabled and socially weak - turned 13 years old this year.
The Women's News is regarded as having widened the horizons for feminist journalism in Korea by discovering and putting on the social agenda women's issues that other newspapers used to deal with in the gossip column or ignore altogether.
Photo-journalist Park Young Sook remembers the emotional moment when the first edition of The Women's News came off the press on 2 December 1988. Recalls Park, "We were bursting with emotion at having created a medium to voice our opinions and jumping with joy at having put our philosophy into action." Park recollects "heated debates with chief editor Go Jeong Hee over every new edition." She adds that "the very existence of The Women's News speaks of the progress of the women's movement."
'Korea's Economic Reality and Women's Issues,' 'Male-Dominated World of Politics' and 'Culture of Chauvinism' were some of the heavy issues that The Women's News dealt with in great depth from its founding edition. The newspaper soon became a feminist textbook for women students, workers and intellectuals, and the basis of women's search for solutions to social problems.
Furthermore, The Women's News was an experimental combination of feminism and journalism, training women - for far too long conditioned by masculine dialogue and viewpoints - to speak, write and see things from women's point of view.
Representative of Seoul Media Park Hye Sook worked as a reporter with The Women's News for 6 years from 1988. Says Park, "The shining achievement of The Women's News is that it went beyond just reporting on an issue to getting women's groups to launch reform movements."
Park goes on to add, "The Women's News was a 'school' that taught women to form their own words and voice them, to see the world through their own eyes. Those who graduated from this 'school' are continuously pushing this male-oriented society towards changes and improvements today."
The Women's News also launched various activities to establish gender equality in society, such as initiating the Egalitarian Couple Award and comparing women policies of presidential candidates.
Despite such achievements, The Women's News failed to gain the influential status of other feminist media establishments overseas. Professor Kim Seon Nam (Mass Communications, Wongwang University) explains that "overseas feminist media such as Emma was successful thanks to an independent public and mature society." Kim points out that "making The Women's News a substantial media for women is a task that the women's movement should take up together."