The traditional South Korean society had their women as subordinates who did not have formal education at all. The roles of the women to stay at homes as good mothers and homemakers. The primary duties were to ensure there was harmony in the family by avoiding any conflict. Additional, after a woman was married, she was supposed to move and stay with the husband at the husband’s home. While at the husband’s place, she was expected to take care of the whole family as well as the parents-in-law. The traditional Korean society preferred male child to a girl. A woman who did not bore a male child was not worthy in the society. Women in the traditional Korean society did not have a voice and were not allowed to participate in any activity in the community as men. The society expected them to give support to their husband.

Feminism, women rights movement

Feminism or women rights movement originated and has its history from South Korea. Article 11 of the national constitution in 1948 talked about the women suffrage in South Korea. According to the constitution, the law recognizes citizen as equal, and no discrimination shall be there in social, Political, economic and cultural life. The law states the no person should be discriminated against based on the sex, social status or religion. The South Korean women rights or feminism movement is pretty recent as compared to the Western World’s first and second wave of feminism. Industrialization and globalization have brought so many changes that have been implemented in the economy and workplaces in so many places and so has been the case in South Korea. The rapid economic growth through globalization has seen the role of men and women changing in the South Korean society. With the introduction of capitalism and democracy, women started working in public places as well as participating in political events. In 1948, according to the constitution, the women suffrage became legal, and thus they started gaining opportunities to continue to higher education including colleges and universities.

Amidst all the advancement taking place in the world and South Korea, women discrimination existed behind the scene. Even though the social perspective does not externally exclude women from taking part in economic activities, low wage, poor working environments compared to male workers, there is a lot of sexual harassment taking place at workplaces which is seen to discourage women. Besides, people do not discuss such cases openly as they feel they are not essential matters as compared to others.

Minjung Undong or mass people’s movement of South Korea

There were many women’s rights groups established even before the Second World War in South Korea. However, these groups did not solely discuss the issues that were affecting women until the mid-1980s. The current feminist movement in South Korea has its history traced back to the mass people’s movement of South Korea or Minjung Undong. The attention of women rights increased as minjung movement developed. Minjung movement decided to focus on the rights of women after women labor was exploited within factories in South Korea. Women’s movement gained more momentum in the mid-1980s after women got involved in student and labor movements as there were a lot of reforms taking place in South Korea by this time.

Current feminism activities in South Korea

Presently, there are two kinds of women movements in South Korea, reformist and radical. The reformist female movement focuses on changing the role of women in the society. They use such methods as drafting legislation, lobbying, as well as influencing decision makers. The group supports the government of South Korea. The radical movement concentrates on general human rights issues. The group tackles problems such as the torture of prisoners and the reunification with North Korea.


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