Park: Korea, Gender Equality, the #MeToo Movement


By Chan Kyu

Worldwide, society has been formed by a patriarchy. Compared to women, men have been dominant in most of fields. We thought, for a long time it was right for men to be superior to women. However, society started to change, and the voice of women began to grow. They shouted for gender equality and the equal rights for women. Pioneers of feminism have shown up as the controversy over gender equality and gender rights have been going on for decades. Changes has begun.

Korean society was formed with Confucianism for centuries, which largely influenced people’s minds to be conservative. Our ancestors had a distinct differentiation between males and females. They thought women had to serve and obey men. This culture was rooted deeply in the nature of Korean people, which is still prevalent, and this inherited nature is causing problems between men and women. Males have had privileges for decades and are used to a social system that favors them. On the other hand, women want to gain more rights and change the male-oriented society. It is important to be equal regardless of gender in opportunities, promotions, social status and income, and decisions should be based on the abilities of individuals rather than their genders. Korea has been struggling to form this equal system between males and females.

Not being equal resulted in sexual issues. Males have been using their social powers to abuse women sexually. It has always been a problem, but society prefers to overlook the issue. There are various sexual misconducts in Korean society. For example, male bosses would sexually harass or molest their apprentices. Celebrities are sued for sexual assault often, and unpleasant body contact occurs frequently on public transportation. Even though both genders are aware of the issues, both have traditionally been silent, but the push started to arise as the “#MeToo Movement” has diffused. Women with these terrible experiences have started talking about their experiences, and the media is being forced to deal with it.

This movement was very necessary, and it was a crucial step to change traditional Korean society. Women are not the property of men to be judged and objectified. Along with that, women should be respected as human beings with their own valuable personalities. Men should not think of them as materials that exist for their sexual desire. These ideas are what ground the movements for gender equality and the rights of women. I personally hope that male individuals learn from this movement and treat women as equals.

Western countries are far closer in gender equality compared to Korea. They have gained it through protests, the #MeToo Movement and societal innovation. We are on the same track, and I believe that we will slowly change and at the end reach the same values Western nations are adopting nowadays. In order to gain that, both genders should work together closely and respectfully.

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