<#MeToo Action 2018> held its first protest on 22nd and 23rd of March after its launch.

Women's had <2,018 Minutes of #MeToo Filibuster>, a wave of speech prosecuting the experience of gender violence which lasted for 2,018 minutes(34 hours) for two days in a row, following with a protest named <Ending Gender Discrimination/ Sexual Abuse> at Chungye Square, located in the heart of Seoul, Korea.

 

Korean Women Workers Association(KWWA), in solidarity with <#MeToo Action 2018> participated as the operation staff of the events, assisted the team in arranging the Filibuster from the early morning of the 22nd, installing the stage and walls for participants to post their support and experience regarding gender violence.

 

 

 

 

 

<2,018 Minutes of #MeToo Filibuster> had an outset in the early morning, 9:22 AM, gathering lots of participants as time went by. These are some of the testimonies spoken and collected from the event.

 

 

 

The 15th #MeToo Testimony:

"I majored film and wishes to work in the production team. After working in the field, I was always lashed out by blames from coworkers that I am ‘being sissy’, ‘acting like a girl’ and not working as hard as the men do, and was belittled by thinking that my mistakes would shame all other women. I was scolded and depreciated for not being kind enough like a girl should, and often heard reckless remarks including ‘that’s why we don’t hire women in this field’. These words make the women working in the film industry suffer and feel insecure during their entire working hours, often forcing them to quit pursuing their careers.“

"In many occasions, directors force actresses to make more nudity without a former consent. I remember a director who ripped off the clothes of an actress urging that the actress ‘should look like that she is being raped’. They justify their deed as adding reality to the movie, but their films are a mere reflection of their own libido. Those perverted filmmakers keep making movies and their creations had been on screen in the theater until now. "

 

The 16th #MeToo Testimony(Kim Seung-Ha, KTX Stewardess manager) :

"Employment of KTX Stewardess started from sexual discrimination from the very first. There was a strong prejudice that females are more appropriate for care services and that they can be hired only shortly before their marriage, and this accounts for hiring KTX stewardess separately as an irregular employee with less wage and less career opportunity. No matter how hard we worked, we were not able to gain job security and compensation that the male employees were able to achieve doing the same work. We started working with pride and diligence, but faced a poor working condition at last."

"Our work environment was very unsafe. There was this stewardess who was electrocuted and hospitalized, but the Railroad Corporation(KORAIL) directed the stewardesses to not to make an interview with news channels or broadcasts. Since the stewardesses are hired in second vendor companies, male employees from KORAIL often forces us to accompany them for drinks, or dance with them. Some of them forcefully hugged or harassed us, but we were not able to say no to them since they could possibly be in charge of our job contract.“

“Those men are not changing, only the harassed victims are resigning from their jobs. No matter how hard those women try, they are not able to gain the same rights as their male co-workers and this mysogynic situation is still in progress. We are struggling but will never give up fighting against this injustice against female workers and discrimination on the job. From this year, we hope to work as the rigtful employee of KTX as well as protecting the safety of the cabin.”

 

The 26th #MeToo Testimony:

“We existed as a thin thread of voices as we were exposing our victimhood. However, it is now turning into a thicker twine with the advent of the #MeToo movement. Still, we are living with anger from discrimination and injustice, yet we are not afraid of it like we did before since hopefully, it will work as a drive to eliminate gender violence from now on."

 

The 53rd #MeToo Testimony:

"The chairman in my former workplace harassed me constantly, and I quitted working after six months of terrible experience. Victims are often blamed for being atypical, having lower work efficiency or giving the reasons for the accusers. These happened to me in the same way and it was my boss who blamed me for not working hard enough. How can I work so well and efficiently in such a condition, when someone is constanly harrassing me?“

 

The 73rd #MeToo Testimony:

"I would like to say that you have to be very sensitive and furious against people who speak out their mysoginic prejudice. When I meet such people, I ask them back: “Don’t you think that is very discriminative? I think it is very outdated to have such prejudice”. Or you can point out that it is “uncool” to do so. Those accused of being prejudiced or uncool from lots of audiences are very likely to have self-observation. I believe that those indicating words can change the world at last.“

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speech continued even during the midnight regardless of shivers from freezing weather, completeing 1,000 minutes of the filibuster.

 

 

Some even were wearing vinyl ponchos to fight off the cold wave, but the participants were never able to stop since they were desperate for the fairer world without gender violence which existed for years. Participants were also singing their wishes out with their own lyrics showing their will.

 

 

 

The #MeToo testimonies were posted day and night, and sexual violence in workplace caught our eyes. When sexual harassment happens in the workplace, victims face a hard time exposing their victimhood since they must risk their social status and survival. KTX stwardess who had a speech also posted testimony regarding her hardship exposing the sexual harassment in the workplace.

 

 

The participants made it through the night and the sun came up, while the filibuster was still running for its last minutes.

 

 

 

The 115th #MeToo Testimony:

“We had to erase all the names of the accusers while making #MeToo testimonies since the accusers can sue the victims for defaming them although the victims were speaking out of truth. I still cannot understand why someone could be guilty of speaking the truth. This strange law system of ours makes the victims of sexual assaults become a defender in courts. Thus we were only able to make testimony in vague terms. Should it be wrong to say the victimhood outloud?”

 

The 127th #MeToo Testimony:

“As I am preparing to get a job, everything is frightening. When I get hired, I will be the youngest of the company, evidently making me an outsider due to ‘Pence rule’. Is it that hard to coexist in the same world while admitting that women are the same human as the men? Aside from this stupidity, women in Korea were always discriminated and objectified. It is very pathetic to see males who are afraid of being accused of their wrongdoings and urge such thing as ‘Pence rule’ should be done. These came to my mind as I was preparing for CVs.”

 

The 135th #MeToo Testimony:

"My husband’s family is very partiarchial, that it is very common for males to dine separately from the female members of the family. One day we were dining and when male in-laws of the family heard the news report on MeToo movement, they said many things that were intolerable to me. ‘Why are those womens raising their voices afterward?’, ‘I am sure that those women are gold diggers’, ‘Those are rumors made for political reasons’ and so much more. I could not stand that conversation. My hands were shivering……. This week I am going to refute them: ‘I had to experience all those sexual harassments in daily life, and does that make me a gold digger?‘“

 

 

The 159th #MeToo Testimony:

"I am here on behalf of someone else, but the former (testimonies) made me remind the incident that I kept for a long time. Therefore I am speaking on behalf of another woman while speaking for myself. Women are not treated as the equal human being in this society. We are insulted at school, in our own house, and workplace and exposed to violence. We were born in a rape culture, grew up with it, and face the gender violence in everyday life. Most women have to smile and be gentle in everyday life, but that is an unpleasant job only burdening women. #MeToo movement made me realize that what I experienced through life should not be belittled and forgotten. How did I ever lived silenced? I also silenced myself to survive in this society and struggled. This makes me remind of other womans who are also remaining silence and struggling to survive and then it breaks my heart. From now on, we shall struggle to make a better world lest there would be another woman belittled and discouraged.

 

The 175th #MeToo Testimony:

"I was a victim of sexual violence from an instructor. I was not able to hear any word of apology or explanation from him until now. I blamed myself for years for bringing such misfortune to myself, that it is a shame to not behave properly and let myself become an easy target for the predator. Gender violence is a result of exploiting women, and again it suppresses the victims even after experiencing such a traumatic event. Victims face the stale patriarchal system and authoritative power that are unseen yet highly hampering, resulting them to surrender and remain silent. Patriarchal culture, male-centered society, and even ourselves internalizing the norms of patriarchal society can act against the #MeToo movement. This is the movement that can make a small, yet meaningful fissure in this misogynistic culture where the danger of gender violence is present at all times. Everyone is watching the #MeToo. I am suggesting to the perpetrators to apologize and deeply regret their assaults. I am honored to unite with such courageous people like you today.“

 

One of our sister agency, Korean Women's Union‘s newcomer recited a poem by Moon Chung-Hee, named <The Crying Servant>:

“Okrye’s mother, who was always pale and green like a thistle, was a servant who cried for the deceased/

She cried instead of the triste as if the world was trembling/

And gleaned countless meteors dropped from her cry/

Her hunger, her sad mourn/

Guided everyone dead to the underworld, relieving people from burden/

Only some wandered for a while. The mother who cried sadly feverishly/

Hung the meteors on the sky up upon her head to every pit/

When will her cry stop? Okyre, our poet’s daughter, thy resembles thistle /

You will soon learn how to cry like your mother/

You will learn how to cry instead of the triste in this world

 

 

 

Kwak Mila from <Co-op Sunnyside Care>, Ansan domestic workers’ cooperative also made her speech.

 

"Domestic workers, who only get paid under the minimum wage, are constantly under danger of being sexually harassed or experiencing sexual assaults while providing their service as cleaning, cooking or housekeeping. We cannot dare to report this traumatic experience to anyone since we need that least minimum wage for the living should not be paid under the minimum wage(She burst into tears). I do not see this as a mere vice of the perpetrators. I would like to accuse this country of not fulfilling its promises to offer stable and decent job conditions for domestic workers."

 

 

 

Jeune from Ansan Women Workers Association also spoke on behalf of a victim of domestic sexual abuse.

 

 

 

The testimony continues as the Lee Song-yeon from the student solidarity group with Seongang University’s cafeteria workers continues.

 

"University cafeterias often hire the elderly females, often outsourcing them or cutting back the wage, dangering the job security of these elder female employees. Relocation of female laborers in the position of the discriminated and disadvantaged position is likely to lead women as the weak, powerless employee at the workplace who can easily be disregarded, resulting them to be a target of gender violence. "

 

Testimonies from 193 courageous women continued for 2,018 minutes and much more participated with us in the Square.

“The World shall hear as we speak. We who changed will stand up to shatter your world! Women for Rights, Changes shall be made!”

 

 

 

 

These were the strong slogans that announced the very beginning of the protest, <Ending Gender Discrimination/ Sexual Abuse>. As we conclude the gathering, many others filled the Square and showed supports.

 

 

 

 

 

Son Yung-Joo, KWWA’s president, first opened the filibuster with a speech introducing the issue of sexual assaults in the workplace. She quoted and announced the results collected by KWWA. <Call for Equality>, KWWA’s hotline for female workers, published a statistics showing the increase in sexual assaults in the workplace, whereas the government and Ministry of Labor which are in charge of preventing such offense are neglecting their duty to regulate the abusers and companies. In some occasions, labor supervisors were responsible for causing a ripple effect on victims. Most cooperations had no systematic administration which ensures thorough inspection of the assault and restitution for victims.

 

 

Later, the representatives of women's organizations, #MeToo accusers from the theatre business and literary world also continued to raise their voices.

Quoting Choi Young-Mi, a poet and accuser, “We have brought down the ‘monster’ and we shall continue to fight”.

 

After the first half of the protest, participants marched out the Jongro together shouting out the slogans below.

 

The world after #MeToo that we shall make- Slogans for <Ending Gender Discrimination/ Sexual Abuse>

-I remember / I witnessed

-We remember / We are the proof

-We are here/ Here for you

-The World will hear / As we speak

-We testify / People shall hear

-We stand here / ready to change the world

-Gender discrimination and sexual abuse / shall be eliminated from now on

-Gender discrimination and sexual abuse / must be shattered right now

-The world with difference / that we will build

-The world that #MeToo will change / shall be built by us

- Now we are the waves of change

 

 

 

- We no longer vote for politicians who are charged for sexual assaults

- We boycott misogynic media

- We boycott misogynic game companies

- We boycott entertainers who are charged for sexual assaults

- We boycott enterprises discriminating female employees

- The perpetrators should end up in jail

- They shall speculate on their fault in prison

- If “gender equality” is too hard for you, first learn to respect

- We shall lead real democracy win

 

 

 

- Stop silencing the voice of victims / There are no politics in gender violence

- How can men pick up Pence rule when women raise their voices on gender violence?

- No one defamed perpetrators but himself / Stop countercharging victims

- “Gold diggers” don’t exist / Eradicate rape culture

- We shall fight against rape culture / right now

- Stop countercharging victims / right now

- Perpetrators to jail / Victims to everyday life

 

 

 

The world will greatly suffer and change after the #MeToo incident, and it is a change to be done. At the end of the protest, there shall be a society where “no one fears gender discrimination and gender-based violence and pursue their job in a safe, equal way”. KWWA will always withstand and join as the actor for a fairer society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by KWWA

On a sunny day, March 8th, the rally of leaving office at 3pm for resolving gender wage gap was held in the Gwanghwamoon Square.

 

 

 

 

 

There were many banners from feminist groups as well as trade unions. Before the rally started, we set up the alarm for 3pm. Korean female workers wage average is only 64% of that of male workers, which means that female workers work without pay after 3pm. This gender wage gap has been the biggest among the OECD countries for fifteen years. When the alarm went off, we all typed “Stop at 3 O’clock” on the search engines to make it #1 real-time search word that people can be aware of on the first page of their internet access and get interested. (Not sure if we did make it #1, though. J)

 

 

We had three main rallying cries;

1. Never ask if a woman is married, if a woman has a boyfriend, or if a woman has a childbirth plan! Hire women at least a half!

2. Uproot sexual violence in the workplace!

3. The Government should observe minimum wage rule!

 

 

The first speaker was a college student Park Hweewon from Korean Students Rally.

Never ask if a woman is married, if a woman has a boyfriend, or if a woman has a childbirth plan! Hire half and half!

Never ask our family plan! It’s none of your business!

Do not discriminate by gender in the hiring process! Self-inspect your sexism!

She shouted out loud as a college student who soon would be directly concerned with the hiring process.

 

 

 

 

The second speaker argued for the removal of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Park Jiyeon, a worker from Daegu, shared her experience of sexual harassment at work and of co-workers’ support and trade union’s solidarity which ended up expelling the perpetrator from work.

Yes, change is possible by #MeToo and #WithYou!

 

 

The chairperson of the Cooperative Council of Care Workers, Yoon Hyeyeon, gave the third speech. She pointed out that the Government had set the wage of personal assistants for the disabled, senior caregivers, baby caregivers, and other sorts of care workers lower than the minimum wage. It has caused damage to care workers and care service providers as well as to care receivers.

 

The Government should observe minimum wage rule!

Minimum wage 10,000 won should start from the Government!

 

 

Then, we sang the official song for Stop at 3 O’clock Rally and danced.

 

 

 

Equal labor but without pay after 3pm

Stop there

The biggest gender wage gap among the OECD countries

Can’t put up with this

Give me the money

Same wage gap for the fifteen years

It’s time to change

Let’s stop at 3 O’clock

 

 

 

It was fun to dance, but the lyrics exactly fit the depressing reality of the gender wage gap. Same wage gap for the fifteen years and the sexist labor/wage structure needs to be transformed!

 

We recited the declaration of The Second Rally of Leaving Office at 3pm.

 

 

 

 

 

[Declaration of Struggle]

2018 International Women’s Day Joint Action of Feminist and Labor Groups Stop at 3 O’clock Declaration

Stop at 3 O’clock, once again in 2018.

 

Listen to women’s voice! Women still have to stop at 3 O’clock this year.

 

Today last year on the International Women’s Day, female workers stopped working at 3pm and gathered in the square. While male workers earned 1,000,000 won, female workers earned 640,000 won only. Given the eight-hour labor a day, female workers worked virtually without pay after 3pm. Many women held the first Stop at 3 O’clock Rally against this reality last year.

 

Online and onsite participants argued that this gender wage gap was not only about the wage system but also the product of the unreasonable labor process that female workers had to be engaged in. For example, many female workers were not considered for promotion just because they were women. Many female workers experienced career breaks because women alone had to be responsible for childcare. Care work and service work, in which female workers dominate, had been undervalued. All these female-labor-related problems resulted in the average gender wage gap, which women could easily witness and experience. Gender wage gap attracted social attention last year. However, how much the female workers’ realities have changed since last year’s rally? Against the surprisingly firm irrationalities, women today, once again this year, left their offices at 3pm and are crying for change.

 

Never ask if a woman is married, if a woman has a boyfriend, or if a woman has a childbirth plan! Hire women at least a half!

Many women face sexism at work from the hiring process. Last year Korea Gas Safety Corporation failed seven female qualified job applicants, because the then president Park ordered “Never hire women.” Moreover, many women get private and sexist questions including if a woman is married, if a woman has a boyfriend, or if a woman has a childbirth plan. Being asked these questions in every job interview, women can realize that companies do not hire women just because they are women! Why is the hiring ratio not commensurate to the population ratio—half and half? This society presumes marriage and childbirth as all the women’s natural duty, and attributes the responsibility to give birth and care children only to women. Companies avoid hiring women for this reason. The society and companies should change.

 

#MeToo. Uproot sexual violence in the workplace!

Prevalent sexual violence in the workplace prevents women from continuing their career. Recent courageous wave of #MeToo has revealed sexual violence cases in the Prosecution Service, the Police Agency, the media world, the art world, and so on. It clearly shows to the whole society that sexual violence is not just an individual and unlucky event to a small number of women, but a prevalent phenomenon many working women have faced in their everyday workplaces. 

 

Sexual violence in the workplace directly menaces female workers’ right to live, but it continues under the connivance of male-centered organizational workplace culture. The courageous victim of the sexual harassment in Renault Samsung Motors was disadvantaged by exclusion from work and co-workers’ bullying. As Hanssem Corporation represents, companies deal with sexual violence incident in the workplace by criticizing the victim’s attitude, by threatening the victim to change the testimony, and by stigmatizing the victim as a gold digger or a false accuser or a revengeful woman who failed in love life. Companies do not try to resolve this prevalent problem but rather attack the victim in an organizational way. The courageous victims have to endure secondary damages. The male-centered organizational culture and companies’ problem-resolving system should be entirely transformed. Companies should not do another violence on victim with organizational schemes. Companies should take the responsibility! The Ministry of Employment and Labor should take the responsibility to inspect, manage, and punish the problematic companies!

 

The Government should observe minimum wage rule!

The minimum wage has fairly brought up in 2018 based on the Government’s resolution to raise the minimum wage to 10,000 won by the year 2020. The minimum wage issue is critical to female workers’ right to live, as a large portion of female workers are hired as temporary workers or low-paid workers. In reality, 63% of female workers are paid under the level of minimum wage. Thus, the increase and actual protection of the minimum wage will improve the quality of women’s lives and will help resolving the gender wage gap.

 

However, the reality of care workers and service workers, which are dominated by middle-aged women, still has a long way to go. The Government did not apply the minimum wage rule to their Social Service Worker Wage Index in 2018. It resulted from the general underestimation of women-dominating care work and from the State’s irresponsible attribution of social service to social service workers’ individual sacrifice. We should change this reality. The State should improve the poor labor condition and actual wage of social service workers.

 

We hereby point out this firm reality, which makes us leave the office at 3pm again on the International Women’s Day this year, and we urge three demands for change mentioned above.

 

 

2018 International Women’s Day The Second Rally of Leaving Office at 3pm

 

Joint Action of Feminist and Labor Groups Stop at 3 O’clock on the International Women’s Day

 

Korean Green Party

Korean Council of Trade Unions

사회변혁노동자당

People’s Solidarity for Social Progress

Women Labor Law Support Center

여성엄마민중당

Korea Women’s Trade Union

전국여성연대

Justice Party

Korean Women Workers Association

Korean Women’s Associations United

Women Link

Korean Students Rally

 

 

 

After the declaration, the participants marched down the Jongno street. Look at these determined faces!

 

 

 

 

Korea Women’s Trade Union had wonderful banners with great signs!

 

 

UP the minimum wage! OUT the gender wage gap! NO sexism!

 

 

 

 

We asked in advance the participants to bring some stuffs to make noisy sound during the march on the street so that people can be aware of us and the issue. Some brought a plastic bottle with pebbles inside or a small gong. Korean Women Workers Association brought whistles.

 

 

 

In the middle of the march, we organized small performances as well. We blew whistles and tore a banner with a sign of “sexual violence in the workplace” in front of the building of Kumho Asiana Group near Gwanghwamoon. We denounced the President of the corporation having called young female flight attendants into his room and harassed them.

 

 

 

Also, Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union smashed a coffin symbolizing glass ceiling and gender wage gap with hammers. The rubber hammers could not easily break the strong coffin, which seemed to represent the firm glass ceiling of our society.

 

 

Activists and volunteers from regional branches of Korean Women Workers Association joined the rally from Ansan, Suwon, Incheon, and Puchon. Bright future of gender equal labor will arrive soon thanks to them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s rally was in line with the #MeToo movement, a desperate disclosure and counterattack on the male-centered culture and sexual bullying in the workplace! Gender wage gap clearly exposes the sexist nature of capitalism.

 

 

 

The rally was finished in front of Seoul Regional Office of Employment and Labor in order to criticize the Ministry of Employment and Labor for not properly reacting to working women’s ceaseless #MeToo disclosure. Joint Representative of Korean Women Workers Association Bae Jinkyung pointed out the various sorts of sexism in labor relations in Korean society.

 

 

 

Seoul Women Workers Association and Women Labor Law Support Center took the examples, in which the Ministry of Employment and Labor has not thoroughly investigated and dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace but rather has done secondary violence on the victims.

 

 

The Ministry of Employment and Labor should wake up to uproot sexual harassment in the workplace!

Hire more labor investigators with gender equality consciousness!

We will not just stand by and do nothing anymore!

 

With shouting out loud, The Second Rally of Leaving Office at 3pm was over. Thank you very much for all the support!

 

 

Posted by KWWA

Last Sunday, March 4th, the 34th Korean Women’s Rally on International Women’s Day was held in Gwanghwamoon Square. The agenda of the rally this year was Life-Changing Gender Equal Democracy for Gender Justice.”

 

Six main rallying cries were:

#Life-Changing Expansion of Female Representativeness,

#Life-Changing Removal of Gender Wage Gap,

#Life-Changing Repeal of Abortion Ban,

#Life-Changing Enactment of Anti-Discrimination Act,

#Life-Changing Removal of Sexual Violence,

#Life-Changing Gender Equal Constitutional Amendment.

 

 

 

A stage was set up in the middle of the square, and many feminists and NGOs put up interesting booths with feminist souvenirs and various programs.

 

In the Korean Women Workers Association’s booth, we held a survey event, which we had done online last time, called “Gender equal labor is OOO.” Visitors could answer the question either by putting stickers representing their experience of gender-based discrimination in the workplace or by writing down what gender equal labor means to them.

 

 

 

 

 

More than a hundred people put stickers and wrote down what they think of gender equal labor.

 

People could choose from twenty-eight different stickers, out of which most popular answers were “I have heard (or experienced) that woman of more than certain age are hard to get a job,” “From young, I have been burdened to help domestic labor during holidays as a daughter,” “I have a lot been ordered to cook for father or brothers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other answers like “I have been pointed out my appearance, make-up, or attire in the workplace,” “I have heard ‘woman should not be crude like you’ in the workplace or at home” occupied a lot too. We will soon publish card news about this survey.

 

Moreover, participants defined the seemingly vague phrase “gender equal labor” in their own words, such asShared domestic labor,” “No childcare by myself,” “Equal domestic labor is the prerequisite of gender equal labor,” “Equal labor, equal pay” and so on.

 

 

 

Korean Women’s Rally in 2018 had a special meaning because it was held in the high tide of the #MeToo movement. Thus, we organized a #MeToo Shouting-Speaking Rally, putting off the official opening ceremony of the anniversary to the last.

 

 

 

Speakers, who had applied in advance, shared their previously-silenced or -neglected experiences. They shouted it out in the square without any restriction but with other participants’ solidarity and support.

 

 

We sincerely hope that the perpetrators be punished, and the victims go back to their peaceful everyday lives. Thanks to the victims’ courageous disclosure and declaration, society without sexism and sexual violence will arrive soon.

 

After the #MeToo Shouting-Speaking Rally, the participants marched down the Jongno street with the banners representing the contemporary Korean women’s main issues. Thousands of feminists shouted out rally cries along the street.

 

 

Democracy cannot be accomplished without gender equality!

 

 

Uproot all sorts of sexual violence! Your era has ended!

 

Protect women’s reproductive rights! Repeal the Abortion Ban!

 

Half the population is women! Expand female representativeness!

 

Korean Women Workers Association put emphasis on “Resolve gender wage gap!” Volunteers helped holding the banners.

 

 

 

 

 

We also picketed with signs, crying Sexual violence in the workplace has not been uprooted because the Government has not properly inspected and punished! It is because of the state system!”

 

 

The one-hour-and-a-half march was followed by award ceremony in the square.

 

 

 

 

Feminist Movement of the Year Award went to Park of Renault Samsung Motors. She reported in 2013 a sexual harassment incident she experienced in the workplace and has fought against the company since then. Renault Samsung Motors has disadvantaged her and her supporters by every possible measure such as exclusion from work, disciplinary punishment, suspension of performance of her duties, and forcing her to wait to be assigned. In response to these disadvantages, Park claimed the compensation for damage against the company. After five years of lawsuit, she finally won from the Supreme Court. We hope this award can be comfort and energy for her.

 

Obstacle to Gender Equality Award went to;  

Korea Gas Safety Corporation, who failed female applicants by manipulating job interview score.

Hanssem Corporation, who provided the worst case of coping with sexual violence in the workplace.

Africa TV Corporation, who promotes and aids and abets misogynistic broadcasting contents.

Full bench of Jeju District Court of the first instance of domestic sexual violence on an immigrant woman, who forced the victim to look like victim.

Daegu Catholic Hospital and Hallym University Hospital, who sexually objectify nurses.

Daegu Bank, who cause re-victimization by tepidly reacting to sexual violence incident in the workplace.

 

 

 

Steppingstone for Gender Equality Award went to;

Elementary School teacher Choi Hyunhee (Majungmulsaem), who established a feminist teachers’ group called Research Group for Gender Equality in Elementary School Education and tries feminist education.

Accuser 5 and Deviation (Talseon), who brought up the prevalent sexual violence in the literary world.

The defense council of the US military camp comfort women’s litigation to request compensation for damage by the state, who induced the court’s judgement to contend the state’s responsibility on this state-driven prostitution.

Six writers of a book It Is Not Trivial At All: The Stories of the Female Survivors of Domestic Violence, who drove social change by speaking and writing.

 

Planning group of Stop at 3 O’clock Rally on the International Women’s Day, who broadly publicized the serious gender wage gap, won this award too. Korean Women Workers Association as the organizer of this plan was so proud of it!

 

 

 

Representatives of regional Women Workers Associations congratulated us with love and solidarity.

 

The 34th Korean Women’s Rally ended as such. Though it was a bit rainy, many women and feminists crowded the square and the streets with mutual support and solidarity.

 

 

 

 

 

Until the Life-Changing Gender Equal Democracy arrives and until all kinds of sexual violence disappears in our society, Korean Women Workers Association will stand by women with passion of solidarity and support.

See you again on the next feminist holiday!

 

 

 

Posted by KWWA

 

[Joint Statement] The Government should respond to the #MeToo movement with actual measures!

 

After the sexual violence incident in the Prosecution Service was disclosed in January 29th, the #MeToo movement has expanded towards various sectors of the society. This pouring of “Me Too” is Korean women’s sympathetic and communal response to the social structural violence, not to an individual unlucky experience. To change the structure, #MeToo movement has extended to #WithYou movement. President Moon Jae-in stated on 26th that “I support (the #MeToo movement)” and that the Government will come up with proper measures. On 27th, the Government announced “Complementary Policy against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Public Institutions” with the establishment of a cross-government council with the Minister of Gender Equality and Family as a chair.

 

 

This policy includes the opening of Sexual Violence Complaint Center in the public institutions during one hundred days from March, the expulsion of perpetrator from the public office who gets punished by the fine or more, Sexual Violence Complaint Online Center for universities and schools, supporting system for victim such as free legal aid and psychotherapy aid, and the recommendation of hiring nongovernmental experts to deal with sexual harassment issue within the public institutions. Korean Women’s Associations United welcomes the Government’s will to resolve the problem and its coming up with various measures. However, we raise a question how much these policies can produce actual effects.

 

 

This policy focuses only on the public institutions. What does the Ministry of Employment and Labor do? As we can see from the Hansaem incident, sexual violence prevails in the nongovernmental areas as well. It is very doubtful if the Government has enough will to solve the problem. The Government should announce a policy not only for the public offices but also for the private sectors.

 

 

Also, the Government need to inspect the existing petition process before establishing a new Complaint Center. Hiring nongovernmental experts to deal with sexual harassment issue within the public institutions should be mandatory, not just recommended, and the civilian experts should strengthen monitoring the petition-response process to prevent re-victimization.

 

 

In response to many victims’ fear of counteraccusation and re-victimization, the Government should clearly deliver its will to help victims speaking up. In so doing, voice-restricting laws such as false accusation and defamation regarding facts with hostility should be reconsidered and revised.

 

 

Victims courageously place petitions despite the hostile social atmosphere with suspicion, because they want the perpetrators to be properly punished and they want the society without sexual violence. We urge the Government to declare its strong will to punish perpetrators to help victims getting over.

 

 

In order to effectively implement the various policies announced, the Government should vest the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family with actual authority to control the matter. Other than the cross-government council, each related department also should construct an effective response system to problem. 

 

 

Women in the last Candlelight square urged the removal of sexist social culture and sexual violence as well as the regime change. It is time for the society to answer to these women’s demand. We hope the recent movements of #SexualViolenceWithinOOO and #MeToo provide the foundation for the uprooting of sexism and sexual violence in Korean society. We will keep inspecting the Government and other social groups and urging them to come up with actual measures.

 

 

2018. 02. 28.

 

Korean Women’s Associations United

Seven regional branches and twenty-eight affiliated associations

 

 

Posted by KWWA

[Remark] The Complementary Policy Needs Total Complement—Towards “Complementary Policy against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Public Institutions”

 

 

The Government announced “Complementary Policy against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Public Institutions” in February 27th. It includes the expulsion of perpetrator, the opening of the Sexual Violence Complaint Center during one hundred days from March, and the establishment of a cross-government council with the Minister of Gender Equality and Family as a chair. However, this is not the time to devise a policy exclusively for the public institutions. It is time for exhaustive, revolutionary, and fundamental measures. The Government does not understand the gravity of this issue. In a recent Blue House petition, more than two hundred people are urging for the mandatory feminist education in elementary, middle, and high schools. To this fundamental measure proposed by the people, the Government does not even respond.

 

 

Let’s take a look at the complementary policy announced. Yes, a cross-governmental control tower is necessary. Yes, we agree the idea of having the Minister of Gender Equality and Family as a chair. Yet, the problem lies on the small size of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. Its budget scale is equivalent only to 0.42% of the Ministry of Justice, 1.87% of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and 9.33% of the Ministry of Employment and Labor. Ministry of Gender Equality and Family also lacks human resources to implement policies. The Government announced that it would take measures to the incidents reported in an online platform of the Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea, but there is no plan to expand budget and people for implementing the measure. Ministry of Gender Equality and Family cannot work as a control tower without the actual strengthening of its position within the governmental structure, and without more budget and more people.

 

 

Equality Hotline of the Korean Women Workers Association received 672 calls in 2017 about sexual harassment at work. 56.5% of these calls came from small-scale workplaces with less-than-thirty workers. Female workers tend to have jobs at small-scale workplaces. Bosses occupy 60.5% of the perpetrators in workplace with less-than-four workers and 55.6% of the perpetrators in workplace with five-to-nine workers. Within this structure, it is very difficult even to separate perpetrator and victim at work and take actual measures. The first place any governmental policy should turn to is not the most easily manageable sector but the blind spots like these.

 

 

The current procedures for sexual harassment in the workplace have serious problems. The Prosecution Service indicted only 9 out of 2,190 cases reported to the Ministry of Employment and Labor from 2012 to 2016. Only 298 cases were punished by the fine. Sometimes, labor inspectors, who are in full charge of the judgement of sexual harassment at work, provoked re-victimization. This is why labor inspectors with gender equality consciousness should be more recruited. The Police and the Prosecution Service are no better than labor inspectors in the workplace. Some victims have heard insulting remarks from the very police officers they had asked for help, such as “Cause you are pretty,” or “Your face doesn’t deserve sexual harassment.” There is urgent need for gender equality consciousness among the people in charge of the whole procedure. The branch offices of the Ministry of Employment and Labor should bring back the Women’s Employment Division that the Lee Myung-bak administration abolished. Problems cannot be resolved without proper governmental organization for discussion and implementation.

 

 

Legal amendment should be seriously considered as well—whether the current period of prescription of a public prosecution is too short or not, whether the current penal provisions are too light or not. We should think hard about why penetrators are not properly punished, that is to say, why social justice does not work. Moreover, we also need to critically question the culture of the entire society. Prevalent sexual objectification in mass media and everyday life protects perpetrators and tortures victims. Why does the Government’s gender equal workplace policy focus on public institution only?

 

 

The Government should understand what is at stake right now. Women’s protests are the second Candlelight Revolution. No more sexual violence should be allowed. Women are ready to change the world. The Government should come up with active and exhaustive measures!

 

 

2018. 2. 27

 

Korean Women Workers Association, Seoul Women Workers Association, Inchon Women Workers Association, Puchon Women Workers Association, Ansan Women Workers Association, Suwon Women Workers Association, North Cholla Women Workers Association, Gwangju Women Workers Association, Masan-Changwon Women Workers Association, Pusan Women’s Association, Kyungju Women Workers Association, Daegu Women Workers Association

 

 

Posted by KWWA

 

An urgent discussion session was held in February 27th.

 

It was about the #MeToo movement. The discussion session aimed to reaffirm the significance of the #MeToo movement and collect the voices of women arguing for the violence-less and gender equal society.

 

Even though victims have long tried to speak out their experiences, sexual violence has never been reduced nor stopped. However, in 2018, many women in the art communities, the religious societies, the academia, the legal professional communities, the public institutions, and the private companies are simultaneously revealing sexual violence and sexual harassments they have endured or fought against within their own communities.

 

In dealing with sexual violence incidents, women have witnessed various unjust realities within the communities. Sometimes perpetrators never get punished. Victims become a target of perpetrators’ counteraccusation of defamation or false accusation, which easily ends up stigmatizing the victims as gold-diggers. Press reports and public opinion dismiss sexual violence incidents as private and never hear women’s voices as an issue of gender power structure. Re-victimization prevails under the name of protecting community against the enemy who plots to destroy the community.

 

What should we do under these circumstances? The discussion session delved into this main question. Korean Women Workers Association presided a panel, titled “‘URGENT’ Open Up the Square,” and shared statistical information on working women’s reality which we had acquired through Equality Hotline.

 

Many journalists and participants were crowding the venue and we could feel strong desire and strong will to change the society under the banner of #MeToo.

 

 

 

 

Panelists Lee Nayoung, Kwon-Kim Hyunyoung, Shin Heejoo, Oh Sunghwa, Kim Myungsook, Song Ranhee respectively gave a talk.

 

 

 

Lee Nayoung (Professor, Department of Sociology, Chung-ang University)

“The experience of being a victim gives an important impetus to the reconstruction of self—we do not self-identify as a powerless victim anymore. Rather, we stand up and fight for the righteous change of the unjust institutions.”  

 

 

 

Kwon-Kim Hyunyoung (Feminist Theorist/Activist)

“I feel so proud of the recent wave of women’s voices such as the victims of the sexual violence incident in Hanssem cooperation and within the Prosecution Service. They share their experiences of sexual violence in detail and courageously speak up for the social change. It is a huge advance from the time when the speaking itself was a goal. Now, women know that it is not our fault and that the perpetrators and the society are the ones deserve blame. I believe things can actually change. Thank all of you so much and I will be with you.”

“We need, first, legal revision including punitive compensation for damage, second, the change of social norm, and third, the rejection of charging responsibility on victims.”

 

 

Shin Heejoo (Film director, Women’s Association of Arts and Culture)

“I propose the establishment of a task force in the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. The recently-disclosed incidents feature the celebrities with huge cultural power in the respective field as perpetrators. Also, the sexual violence was possible under the connivance and even cooperation of the cultural communities. Thorough investigation is mandatory and actual change in policy and institution should follow.”

 

 

 

 

Oh Sunghwa (Creator, Artists’ Action Against Sexual Violence)

 

Kim Myungsook (Korean Women Workers Association, Labor Policy Director)

“Even though the number of petition submitted in the Ministry of Employment and Labor increases year by year, the level of punishment has been brought down. Sexual violence in the workplace cannot be uprooted because of the labor investigators’ lack of gender equal consciousness. According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the number of petition about sexual violence at work increased from 249 in 2012 to 556 in 2016. In contrast, the number of workplaces the Ministry of Employment and Labor inspected decreased from 1,132 to 535 during the same period. The number of workplaces caught in the inspection also decreased from 480 to 177.”

“Defamation law is easily abused to threat the victim and conceal the incident. Offence of defamation regarding the facts with hostility should not be applied to sexual violence case at work.”

 

 

 

Song Ranhee (Secretary-General, Korean Women’s Hotline)

“Victims have once again suffered from the manual of defamation and counteraccusation, and now we see the recent wave rising. We should ask why victims cannot but speak anonymously. We should think about how victims have been treated in this society. There is ridiculous understanding of the recent #MeToo movement as a political conspiracy. They should read this historical change. Upcoming local election should be anti-perpetrators of sexual violence. We should declare the advent of a new world. We cannot go back. The world has changed by us, and will do.”

 

After the panel discussion, comments from the floor pointed out the necessity of transformation in law, institution, and community culture. We will continue #WithYou, pursuing a safe and equal world for women. Thank you.

 

proceeding : http://kwwnet.org/?page_id=4517&mod=document&uid=454

Posted by KWWA

    Last 16th of June was the 8th anniversary of ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention 2011(No.189; on Decent Work for Domestic Workers). The convention was overwhelmingly approved by ILO memberstates including the Republic of Korea. It is also the anniversary of International Domestic Workers’ Day, when the rights of domestic workers was turned into reality worldwide after the declaration in 101st Session of the International Labour Conference. 


    In commemoration of this respectful day, Korean Domestic Workers Association(Domestic workers’ rights activist organization under Korean Women Workers Association) hosted a press conference on the legislation of the Special Act on Domestic Workers and campaigned in Gwanghwamun Square urging: “Domestic workers’ labour rights should be protected”. 





    Domestic workers who joined the event displayed discriminative words they actually heard from employers on the cork board, which were often insulting and offensive. Some of those words were rather cruel: Suspiscions like ‘I can’t see my ring’, ‘Have you seen my purse?’, or Disrespects- ’You don’t need to come to work from tomorrow(on a text message)’, ’You don’t have a trustworthy impression’, ‘Old lady’, ‘Housekeeper’, etc- were displayed, showing that many domestic workers are suffering from prejudice and disrespect. By erasing those words altogether with citizens and other activists, the domestic workers were able to erase the wounds in their hearts.





     Korean Domestic Workers Association has been stating and campaigning that using the term ‘domestic worker’ instead of ‘housekeeper’ can attribute in social recognition for domestic workers. Still, many people underevaluate the significance of domestic labor, merely thinking it as a repetitive and simple chorse. It is a matter of course that proper recognition on domestic labor will bring respect for domestic workers, resulting in better domestic labor service, thus there ought to be the change in our common perception towards domestic workers.   





     The members of Korean Domestic Workers Association had been building up movements to raise awareness in the labor rights of domestic workers while fighting against the stigma on  domestic workers and labor. They had been urging that the “Labor Standard Act”‘s loophole  excluding domestic labor from the definition of labor is a serious discrimination against social justice. While protesting against the injustice, the members were able to announce themselves proudly as a activist and laborer. 



     During the press conference, one of the members shared their work experience and how proud they feel as a professional domestic worker.


 

[ Hello. I am Kim Soon-Duk from Incheon branch. I am one of the domestic worker who does cleaning, laundry, cooking, and etc. I am not a caretaker, so usually I work without supervisor. But I always work hard and sincerely since there are lot to take care of. 

  I was deeply disappointed when the clients blamed me for stealing their valuables Some of the clients often put their belongings too deep inside their lockers and forgot where it was originally. But often, I was the one to be blamed for the loss. I heard the suspicious doubts from the clients for multiple times, but all of them found their belongings at home. Those suspiscions were very hurful and disappointing. Once, there was a client who worked in China that blamed me for stealing his passport, since it could be used in many countries. I asked the client about the details, but he was merely suspecting me although his memories weren’t clear. He called me almost ten times a day and threatened me, telling me about the immigration office and his respectful friends. I suggested that it would be better if he notifies the case to the police, but he refused. He told me that it can’t be a case since there is no evidence and got offended by what I sad. This made me very heartbroken and upset. 

  It is very difficult to work hard after hearing these groundless suspiscion, but all I could do is to ask my clients to trust me. If the domestic workers become widely recognized as a normative profession, I believe that those groundless suspiscion and ignorance will no longer happen. I want to work with trust and dignity. Thus, I am looking foward for the national assembly to pass the legislation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. ]

 

 

 

 

I am Yeonja Kim, a house manager working at Bucheon branch of National House Manager’s Cooperative.

As a house manager, I used to work for one family every day from Monday to Friday, dropping off and picking up the family’s child. It took a toll on my health, so I gave up the job. But they never sent me the last month’s pay, which amounted to 880,000 Korean won (about 780 US Dollars). I even visited the family to exact a promise from them, but they didn't keep the promise. They just delayed sending me the pay, lying to me as if they could give me the money right away such as “I am at the bank right now”, “the money will be sent to you by tonight”, or “tomorrow I will borrow the money from my friend.” So I visited them and rang their doorbell again and again, but nobody answered. While doing so, I remembered hearing that they had a plan to move out, and this made me more anxious.

I felt so sad and anxious that I could not even sleep well. I was afraid they might not give me the money and just move house. Finally, I visited a kindergarten where I used to drop off and pick up the family’s child. At the kindergarten, I heard that the child was leaving next week.

That day in the evening, I visited the family again; I rang their doorbell, but again, nobody answered. When I called the child’s name out loud, the door opened, and the child’s parent, looking very surprised, came out and asked me to come in. (S)he apologized to me mentioning her/his difficult financial situation, and finally gave me the last month’s pay.

This experience made me realize house managers’ working conditions. In reality, we house managers are so helpless, and we can not be protected by anyone. Because we are hardly recognized as ‘employees’, it is difficult for us to be legally compensated for our overdue pay. I would not have had that experience if house managers had been recognized as employees that were eligible for social insurances. I felt ashamed that I had not joined any campaign or discussion session for improving house managers’ working conditions. My rights as an employee will never be recognized until claimed by myself. Today, I feel cheerful to see other house managers, who are standing here for the day all house managers are respected as ‘employees’.

I’ll do my best for our rights and dignity at work. Thank you.

 

“Domestic Workers Are Employees: [2018 International Domestic Workers’ Day] Press Conference on Legislation for Protecting the Domestic Workers”, Participant’s Comment #2

 

 

 

 

I am Hyeonju Han, a house manager working at Seoul branch of National House Manager’s Cooperative.

I am in my sixties, and working as a care worker. I am quite old now, but still participating in paid work in this aging society. I’ve met many women of my age who want to work. These women are those who want to earn money, spend their time more meaningfully, or become financially independent from their children.

But some of them are hesitating because they are afraid of working or starting a new job. Sometimes they are afraid that others might look down on themselves because of their job.

I used to be a home maker, but I wanted to get a job. So I visited a women resources development center to learn vocational skills, and searched for lots of job information. Finally, I chose ‘care work’ as my job, which I think I can do even at my age.

These days, there are many care-work jobs for elderly women, such as babysitting or taking care of women who have just given birth. Care work is not easy. It takes physical and emotional labor, and sometimes, professional knowledge.

This is not easy, so I think it’s a job for especially elderly women, who have years of experience in parenting and dealing with many different situations in their real lives.

Sometimes, people feel pity for me, saying, “you’d better retire.” But every morning on my way to work, I hum to myself a pop song, “what about my age?” In the hustle and bustle of a city, I feel the happiness of work. I can have this very meaningful feeling because I’m an able elderly person who are still actively working.

Now, I feel very lucky. I am working hard and leading a diligent life, which I have been taught as a way to save myself. My healthy body is another great reward for my job.

Dear women care workers doing your best at work everyday, I’d like to give you my respect and warm regards for your passion and determination.

 

“Domestic Workers Are Employees: [2018 International Domestic Workers’ Day] Press Conference on Legislation for Protecting the Domestic Workers”, Participant’s Comment #3

 

 

 

 

I am Sunae Kang, a house manager working at Ansan branch of National House Manager’s Cooperative.

Now, I’ve been working as a house manager for ten years.

Everyday I am on my busy way to work, to keep my promise with my clients. Today, I’m working for two families. I am gladly welcomed by them, and sometimes I enter their empty house to work alone. Luckily I’ve met nice families, and had a long relationship with them.

Working as a house manager, I’m taking care of my clients’ housework just like my own. Also, my clients politely treat me like family. They give me drinks, cold in summer, hot in winter. In the tired afternoon, just a piece of chocolate given to me really cheer me up. When one of my fellow house managers had surgery, her client supported part of her hospital bills and waited until she came back after recovery. Isn’t this an exemplary case of respect for house managers?

Even though some are looking down on our job, thanks to our clients supporting us, we can be always confident at work. I am proud of my job. A neat and clean house makes people really happy. Care work can be done by only humans, no matter how much robots become widely used with the advance of technology. I want to happily keep working as long as my health permits. I also want to become an ‘employee’ so that my working conditions could be protected by law. I hope, pretty soon, our bills for on-the-job accidents will be covered by social insurance so that we can more freely go see a doctor. Thank you.

 

“Domestic Workers Are Employees: [2018 International Domestic Workers’ Day] Press Conference on Legislation for Protecting the Domestic Workers”, Participant’s Comment #4

 

 

 

 

I am Gyeonghui Ahn, a house manager working at Incheon branch of National House Manager’s Cooperative.

Every morning we house managers go to work to keep our promise with our clients. Sometimes it’s pouring, snowing hard, freezing cold, or extremely hot, but we don’t care. What we care is help our clients live in a healthy, clean, and pleasant house.

When starting working in our client’s house, we’re somewhat stressed because we’ve got to finish lots of work with limited time. However, when looking around clean and shiny rooms after all the work, we feel happy and get energy for another day of work. Client’s thank-you message is enough for us to recharge.

Work makes our body and mind healthy. Doing housework where we got skills and know-how, not only we earn money, but we also feel proud. With our job, we help others having difficulty doing their own housework. We would not have such happiness of work if we just sat back at home doing nothing.

Socializing with fellow house managers in the cooperative, we’ve learned a lot about social issues. We house managers work hard and responsibly. Given respect and proper rewards for our job, we work with confidence as professionals.

Even though still there are some who wouldn’t see us as professionals, everyday we feel that people treat us differently than in the past. This would be impossible without our untiring efforts to make our own voices heard, so let’s cheer up! Let’s take another step forward for the day the law recognizes us as employees. Let’s proudly enjoy our job. I’m happy working as a care worker at the cooperative. As always, I will keep working and enjoy it.

 

“Domestic Workers Are Employees: [2018 International Domestic Workers’ Day] Press Conference on Legislation for Protecting the Domestic Workers”, Participant’s Comment #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the hearing, domestic workers read the letters to citizens aloud, and proceeded the campaign insisting the legislation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. 

 

There needs to be a social recognition admitting that domestic labor should treated as a lawful and equal labor. Therefore, there needs to be a legal recognition on domestic laborers by including domestic labor as an “employee” in Korean Labor law, especially in the “Labor Standard Act”. 

 

Accordingly, we strongly urge that the Korean government must establish the legislation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. 

 

 

Our letter to the citizens:

 

The government should legislate for protecting the domestic workers so that they could work as respectable employees!

We are house managers!

Our workplace is our client’s house. We work hard to make there neat and clean. Everyday, we’re proudly working as professionals titled ‘house managers’, caring for people and their lives.

However, people are still looking down on our job as menial labor that anyone can do. This prejudice makes no room for respect for housework and the domestic workers. It is partly due to the legal system under which we can not be acknowledged as employees.

Over the last 60 years, we have been excluded from the legal protection, due to Article 11(1) of the Labor Standards Act which makes an exception of the domestic workers from the employees. We are not eligible for the injury benefit for our injuries at work. We are also not eligible for the unemployment benefits despite our vulnerable job security. Unless filing a civil suit, there is no solution to our overdue wages. We are given no severance pay for our years of service even though we work and get paid just like any other employees. We are disadvantaged preparing for our old age as we can not benefit from the national pension for the employees. In sum, we domestic workers can not enjoy any basic rights for the employees and legal protection for the problems at work.

In order to change our working conditions, we domestic workers strongly felt a need to make a new law based on our own reality. This led to ‘the bill for protecting the domestic workers’ labor and basic human rights’, which National House Manager’s Cooperative worked on with Korean Women Workers Association and experts. And finally with Congressperson Jeongmi Lee, we proposed ‘Legislation for Protecting the Domestic Workers’. All these efforts became possible by our long-felt want of a law for the domestic workers’ labor rights.

In 2015, the government announced ‘a plan to formalize informal labor market’, and promised to enforce a new law for protecting the domestic workers by 2016. This year is 2018, and already its first half has passed. Still, there has been no legislation and even no sign of pre-announcement of the legislation. The government has done nothing to fulfill its promise.

President Moon’s famous phrase in his inauguration speech, “Opportunity will be equal. The process will be fair. The result will be righteous” is also for the domestic workers. In order to make a country that most values people and their human rights, we are asking that the government immediately pass ‘Legislation for Protecting the Domestic Workers’ so that our labor caring for people and their lives could be appreciated.

Today we work in our client’s house. Today we work facing alone all the risks and problems at work, still not acknowledged as employees.

We are asking your concern for our working conditions not to make vain our voices, “We are respectable employees and professionals!”

 

June 16th, 2018

National House Manager’s Cooperative

 

Posted by KWWA

On Thursday, March 15th, feminist groups and nonaffiliated individuals held a joint press conference in Press Center and declared the inauguration of Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement. Korean Women Workers Association and eleven regional branches joined the Action.

 

 

 

 

Recently, #MeToo in various sectors of the society is ceaselessly pouring out. Sexism and sexual violence in Korean society is not new, but what many victims and feminist groups have pointed out for a long time. Sexual violence is not a personal trivial incident, but a social structural problem that all the members of the society should work hard to remove.

 

Korean society should feel responsible for the #MeToo movement, and actively engage in the reform of social structure that has made sexist power relation and sexual violence possible. We should consider sexism and sexual violence as a serious problem of the time and gather the power of solidarity across the entire society. Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement aims at coming up with continuous and integrated approach so that many feminist, labor, and civic groups and individuals can cooperate and support #MeToo.

 

 

 

Based on this understanding of the current situation and the passion for the better, Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement finally inaugurated in March 15th to gather power to remove sexual violence in the society. More than three hundred and forty feminist, labor, and civic groups and more than a hundred and sixty individuals joined.

 

 

 

 

Now we will build up a foundation to support the social change by the #MeToo movement. We will urge legal and institutional reform and plan various cultural events to improve social awareness and to create gender equal society.

 

 

 

 

Below are the goals of Citizen Action with #MeToo Movement. 

○ We support the #MeToo movement with solidarity for the fundamental change of the sexist structure and culture.

○ We take firm action against any plot to doubt, blame, or make political use of victims, and work hard to protect the rights of victims.

○ We remove any institutional or cultural scheme to shut victims’ mouths, and urge clear investigation and proper punishment for perpetrators.

○ We urge the State and the society to fulfill their duty to uproot sexism and sexual violence and actualize gender equality and to devise detailed policies and institutions.

○ We self-inspect and discuss our everyday lives and activities for actual change, and urge self-inspection and change of the whole society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After delivering the purpose, goal, and plan of the citizen action, we showed a symbolical performance. We tore a large banner to pieces, which contained sexist phrases and sentences created under the sexist social atmosphere. It showed our strong will to never accept this words anymore and to remove prevalent sexual violence and create a gender equal society after this wave of #MeToo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, it is!

 

#MeToo, at the end of this fight will arrive the world we have imagined! Korean Women Workers Association will always walk along with this wave. We ask for your attention and support!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by KWWA

Cooperative Council of Care Workers, representing housekeepers, personal assistants for the disabled, social workers, baby caregivers, and other sorts of care workers, held a general assembly in February 3rd at Daejeon NGO Support Center.

 

 

 

 

 

A number of representatives attended the fifth general assembly meeting. The secretary-general of the Busan regional branch helped starting the pre-meeting program.

 

 

 

The chairperson of the Cooperative Council of Care Workers, Yoon Hyeyeon gave a lecture on “How to Protect Care Work?”

 

 

 

 

She briefly explained the history of the Cooperative Council of Care Workers. She reaffirmed that care work is not voluntary free labor but a proper form of labor. The members of the council have fought hard for the acknowledgement of care work over the last five years, which contributed to the broader social consciousness of care work

 

 

 

Government’s attitude toward care work has changed a lot in terms of institutions and policies. However, Yoon pointed out that there is still a long way to go, especially to the Bureau of National Association of Housekeepers and Social Service Bureau.

 

 

 

 

 

After the lecture, regional branches introduced themselves. Fifteen branches under the council shared their last-year projects with photos and funny chants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a short break, the general assembly began with a congratulatory speech of the standing representative of the Korean Women Workers Association Lim Yoonok. She pointed out that the invisible care workers became visible as a result of the council and the members’ effort and protests. The State Council has passed Domestic Labor Act and the rationalization of care work pay has started. Lim encouraged the members to overcome the expected difficulties later on.

 

 

 

The secretary-general of the council Ssollang reported the activities and projects in 2017. The council did a lot!

 

 

 

 

And she proposed the council’s 2018 plan, as below.

1. Stabilization of the council for people-centered care work and community-based management

2. Education of the members to help them grow as the experts in care work

3. Planning for development of the council organization

 

 

 

With the concurrences of the representatives, the council’s 2018 plan was approved. Let’s go for another meaningful year 2018! We hope the value of care work can be comprehended in a broader society in 2018 with the members’ passion and resolution.

 

 

 

P.S. The secretary-general Ssollang, who has worked hard from the start of the council, will quit in February. She sent her regard to the members in the meeting and the members sent their gratitude to her dedication. Wish you all the best, Ssollang!

 

 

 

Posted by KWWA

[Press Conference] Ministry of Justice and Prosecution Service Should Thoroughly Investigate the Sexual Violence Incident within the Organization and Take Action! —Simultaneous press conference in the sixteen regions across the country urging the investigation of the sexual violence incident in the Prosecution Service

 

 

 

In January 29th, 2018, Prosecutor Seo Jihyun disclosed that she had suffered sexual violence eight years ago by a high-ranking executive in the Ministry of Justice, but had never been apologized but rather disadvantaged in promotion. We wholeheartedly support Prosecutor Seo who took her courage on behalf of all of us.

 

In February 1st, Korean Women Workers Association and regional branches, in company with Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, United Korea Women’s Association, United Korean YWCA, and Committee of Women’s Rights of the Lawyers for a Democratic Society, held simultaneous press conferences in front of the Supreme Prosecution Service and sixteen regional Prosecution Services to urge the investigation of the intra-organizational sexual violence incident. Korean Women Workers Association made a speech at the press conference held in front of the Supreme Prosecution Service.

 

 

 

 

[Speech] Gender Equal Justice for the Prosecutor Seo Jihyun!

Lim Yunok (Standing Representative of the Korean Women Workers Association)

 

Everyone must have seen the prosecutor’s interview. I was in tears watching her putting stress on every word. I could tell how difficult it was for her to take heart to speak out and how brave she was to burden the responsibility to speak out. She has heard a lot of resigned voices, such as “It is easy to fabricate you as a crazy bitch. Just be quiet and work hard.” “If you want to live as a prosecutor for a long time, you had better get good evaluation from your bosses.” But prosecutor Seo stood up. I truthfully appreciate her courage to make all the women to witness the power of a dignified survivor and to voice ourselves with our own courage.

 

Prosecutor Seo said in the interview: “Even though I was the victim of the sexual violence, I have blamed myself for the eight years. I thought I was suffering the shameful incident because I might have done something wrong. Thus, I am here today to tell the victims that it is not their fault. It took me eight years to realize that.”

 

Yes. The perpetrator Ahn Taegeun, the then Director of the Office of Policy Development of the Ministry of Justice, insisted that “I don’t remember. It was a long time ago.” The Ministry of Justice articulated that “There was no problem in the personnel system.” While the perpetrator has promoted to the Director of Criminal Affairs Bureau and enjoyed power, the victim had to spend eight years to realize that it was not her fault. We all know that the eight years must have been an ongoing torture for her.

 

How gruesome it is. As a taxpayer, as a citizen who expects the Prosecution Service to be righteous, and as a social activist who has claimed for years that sexual assault is violence, I am miserable. What is the Prosecution Service for? It is a state organization which is meant to actualize justice. It is the Prosecution Service that investigate and penalize sexual violence. The incident happened in a funeral. There was the Minister of Justice right nearby. And many other prosecutors were witnessing the scene. However, that sexual violence has been concealed for eight years. I am miserable.

 

That’s not all. Prosecutor Seo hesitated to disclose this incident concerning it might cause trouble to the organization. Moreover, she has received not an apology but disadvantages within the organization, including anomalous administrative inspection, warning from the Prosecutor General, deprivation of prosecuting discretion, and unusual personnel appointment. She had twice earned achievement awards as an excellent prosecutor, but after the incident she has suffered all these disadvantages by male high-ranking executives who wanted to conceal this violence.

 

What is the problem? What made the organization of the Prosecution Service decay as such? What or Who gave the right to them to overrule the Constitution, Labor Standards Act, Gender Equal Employment Opportunity Act?

 

I think it is the unbreakable power of the upper 1%. “I have received the achievement award twice, which is hard for anyone to receive even once in a life time. My service has been selected as an exemplary case once every few months and got rewarded. But these achievements have not really been reflected in the personnel assessment. I have seen a lot of cases, in which incapable male prosecutors get awarded or promoted to good positions in spite of female prosecutors’ better performance.” As prosecutor Seo said as such, if personnel system and reward system are not transparent, it could always be easy to manipulate the organization and disadvantage the powerless people. The personnel assessment system itself is sexist. Sexism at work cannot be removed until the personnel system becomes righteous and transparent, tearing down the mutually-protecting male power structure.

 

Prosecutor Seo said that now she knows there is no other way to voice herself to the people who ignore the powerless and patron-less prosecutor’s cry.

 

Now we declare. Prosecutor Seo, you are not alone. We hear you. We sympathize you in solidarity. We will fight for the end of sexual violence at work to help out women lacking patrons and power within state institutions like the Prosecution Service.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Press Conference]

In response to the sexual violence within the Prosecution Service,

We support prosecutor Seo’s courage!

We urge the investigation without any sanctuary!

 

  

In October 2010, one female prosecutor was sexually harassed by an executive of the Ministry of Justice in a funeral. After the incident, she had not received any apology from the perpetrator but rather received unconvincing disadvantages at work, such as anomalous administrative inspection, warning from the Prosecutor General, deprivation of prosecuting discretion, and unusual personnel appointment. The victim disclosed this incident to the press in January 29th, 2018. Her interview exposed the judicial institutions’ unjust attempt to conceal the incident and to suppress her by disadvantages in the personnel system.

 

After the sexual harassment, the victim naïvely thought she could keep working in the organization without any problem if she worked hard. However, the continuous disadvantages at work have her blaming herself for not officially filing a complaint and realizing that no reform can be initiated if the victim keeps silenced. She said, “I am here today to tell the victims that it is not their fault.” We need to think about how our society should comprehend the prosecutor Seo’s courage. We argue as below.

 

First, thoroughly investigate the incident.

Ministry of Justice made a remark in January 29th, 2018 that it was difficult to grasp the details of the sexual harassment incident of eight years ago, and that there was no problem on paper about the personnel assessment of the victim. We raise questions how the comprehension of the details of the sexual harassment incident of eight years ago can be done as quickly as such, whether they thoroughly and sincerely investigated the incident or not, and how much the victim’s testimony was reflected in the investigation. In response to the critical public opinion, the Ministry of Justice articulated on 30th that they would carefully examine the issue and take measures, and created an investigation team on 31st. However, we think the investigation team consisting only of prosecutors is not enough for righteous inspection. We urge the establishment of the Committee for Special Investigation including civilian experts. Furthermore, we urge the establishment of the High-Ranking Public Officials’ Corruption Investigation Agency, which would be the foundation for righteous investigation procedure.

 

Second, no more re-victimization.

We clearly remember the Supreme Court’s sentencing remarks in December 2017 on the sexual harassment incident in the Renault Samsung Motors. It says, “What victim experienced should be admitted as disadvantage, if there were the circumstances which reflect the company’s intention of oppressing the victim’s official complaint.” It is a declaratory warning towards the re-victimization, including counteraccusation, retaliation, disadvantage, and ostracizing/bullying. If “there was no problem on paper” as the Ministry of Justice insisted, we need to delve into what makes it possible that there was no problem. There work conventional biases against victim, such as “the victim must have induced the incident,” or “the victim slanders male rival to get promoted or to dig some money.” We need to think hard to eliminate these sorts logic of exclusion of women at work.

 

Third, we urge deep introspection and concrete efforts for gender equality within the Prosecution Service.

Korean Association of Sexual Violence Relief Centers’ 2017 evaluation on “facilitators and obstacles” of righteous inspections on sexual violence concludes that the Prosecution Service occupies 6 obstacles out of 10. It reveals the Prosecution Service’s general attitude and perspective toward sexual violence cases and victims. According to Korean Sexual Violence Relief Center’s 2003 research on the gender awareness and gender equality education of the people in the legal profession, 80% answered “Yes” to the entry “Sexual violence cases have more false accusation for the purpose of money.” In comparing these two researches, we can see that the misunderstanding of sexual violence and sexual victims has not been improved over the last fifteen years. Prosecution Service should be responsible for the detailed measures to improve gender awareness within the organization, such as gender equality education and exhaustive inspection on the sexual violence incident among the members. It is indispensable not only for no more such incident in the Prosecution Service but also for righteous inspection and prevention of sexual violence in the entire Korean society.

 

Over the last thirty years, Korean society has witnessed sexual victims’ speaking as well as the resulting changes in law, institutions, and social consciousness. However, many victims are still forced to choose to keep silenced, to conceal the incident, or to leave the communities. Only in a mutually-trusting society where victims do not have to leave the communities because of their official complaints can sincere change begin. The victim prosecutor Seo might have taken her courage based on her trust of the changing society represented by the so-called feminist president and the Prosecution Reformation Committee. Victims publicly break the silence not only because they realize there is no personal or institutional way to resolve their suffer, but also because they trust the members of the society to help them. Now we declare our wholehearted support for the prosecutor Seo who bravely stood up on behalf of all of us. We will stand on her side. We will monitor and urge the Prosecution Service to recover trust from the powerless people in the society and to actualize justice.

 

Now we demand:

 

Prosecution Service should thoroughly investigate the incident with a Committee for Special Investigation including civilian experts!

 

Ministry of Justice should establish the High-Ranking Public Officials’ Corruption Investigation Agency and thoroughly inspect the high-ranking public officials’ offences!

 

Prosecution Service should come up with the detailed measures to improve gender awareness within the organization, such as gender equality education and exhaustive inspection on the sexual violence incident among the members!

 

Prosecution Service should improve its member’s competency to investigate sexual violence incident by gender equality education!

 

Stop suspecting and blaming the victim and prevent re-victimization!

 

2018. 2. 1.

Posted by KWWA