25th anniversary special issue of Women News was published with 25 blue roses. Women News, which was first published on December 2, 1988, is now known as “herstory of miracle.” The most prominent miracle is no doubt successfully surviving the years, firmly protecting “women’s values,” which are not respected by the patriarchal culture or by capitalism.
Women News, which boldly declared to become “media of women for women and by women” for the first time in Korean history, has urged Korean society to change and realize gender equality. It set its foot by raising questions to the wrongful social convention against women victims of sexual violence, crying out that “20 million women are outraged.” Since then, Women News went on to wage women’s rights movement through its papers, speaking out for women in various issues from public childcare services, early retirement of women, Miss Korea contests, sex trafficking, and sexual harassment in work places to equal marriage, work-life balance, 30% quota system in all fields of the society, a ministry for women’s rights, and abolishment of “hoju system” – a patriarchal family system.
Korea is one of the 10 largest economies in the world and a “powerful” country that exercises leadership in the United Nations. Korea is now the envy of women around the world for electing a woman president even before the US. Likewise, Korean women have seen a remarkable change in Korea’s status as well as significant quantitative economic growth. Thanks to women quota system in the National Assembly and local assemblies, the share of women members are approaching 30%, and the share of women who pass civil service examinations (to become judicial, administrative, and diplomatic officers) has already surpassed 40%. With the first female president in Korea’s constitutional history, expressions like “men-only” or “the first woman” should seem banal, but the international society’s evaluation is very explicit.
According to the report, Worldwide Index of Women as Public Sector Leaders, published by Ernst & Young, Korea is ranked 16th, the 4th from the bottom, among 19 member countries in G20 (excluding EU) in terms of the ratio of female high-ranking officials. Isn’t it absurd that less than 9% of women have decision-making powers when 40% of all public officials are women? In addition, the ratio of women executives in Korean large companies listed in the top 500 by “Fortune” is merely around 2%.
Going forward, Korean women’s movement must develop into “a greater leadership, marching into women around the world.” This is why from now Women News is shifting its focus to the world. Women News will run a special feature on the lives of Nordic women, and strengthen global contents on its online page.
Moreover, Women News will strive to make Korean society more mature “fair society.” The objective of Women News is to deal with equality as a universal value, not to pursue self-serving opportunism. Women News believes that gender-equality can only be realized when equal democracy takes root. In order to create a democratic society that respects diversity and uniqueness and a society with gender equality as its governing philosophy, Women News is holding Gender Democracy Forums, presenting GenderMic awards, and running Misery Index of Workingmom in cooperation with Working Mom Institute.
Meanwhile, Women News is also expanding exploration of feminine values to culture and sports. If “Korean, English, and mathematics” dominated our education system, from now on, “arts and sports” will. The progress of women’s movement in these fields has not been widely shared compared to other areas, which is why Women News is cooperating with WIN to hold WIN Cultural Forum and present Women Sports Award.
All readers say to Women News, “Who would’ve thought it would last so long? It’s a miracle!” Persistence is a truly remarkable value. Still today, Women News has to work with the same passion and tenacity as when it was first published. Guarding the conviction of gender equality while reporting on women issues “non-commercially,” is no doubt a tough path to walk. However, Women News will willingly take on the calling to continue on as the only women’s newspaper in the world.
Standing at yet another starting point after 25 years, Women News declares the initiation of bringing about a truly equal society, in which men and women are represented 50 to 50, not 70 to 30 owing to quota systems. To this end, Women News demand a shift in mindset of people in all corners of our society including the political arena, and, at the same time, will not hesitate in raising our voice to encourage women.
Women News would like to thank all the readers who have been walking alongside the newspaper. We believe that you will continue to do so in the coming years.