Three male students preparing to enter law school filed a constitutional suit against the Ewha Law School on Sept. 8 calling for the removal of its gender restriction. The petition came into the spotlight again at the end of September after the three asked the Constitutional Court to suspend the law school’s recruiting in 2010.
I sympathize with them as a fellow university student who will launch into society feeling anxious about the future. A quota of 100 students for a women-only law school is a huge number considering the how hard it is to find employment at present.
I understand their anxiety and desperation. However, as a Korean with an obligation to uphold what is best for my community, I strongly condemn what they did. To elevate women’s low social status in Korea, we need a women-only law school for the time being.
According to a recent report published by the World Economic Forum, Korea ranked 115th among 134 countriesin terms of gender equality. However smooth its economy goes, Korea almost always fails when it comes to gender issues. The wage gap between men and women was highest among all OECD members, according to a recent OECD report.
Gender inequality causes great misfortune in society. Women often fall victim to domestic violence, but as many of them are economically dependent on their male partners, they end up enduring the difficulties. Traditional stereotypes toward women and lack of childcare facilities form thick barriers to women participating in labor. Korea’s Human Development Index, a United Nations measure of well-being in a country, has been nailed in place for four years at 26th. Gender inequality, which straggled behind the country’s other indicators, was blamed for the stagnation.
Law can be used to resolve gender inequality. Legal provisions can improve social justice by promoting women-friendly work environments and protecting them from sexual harassments. However, when the rate of women in the National Assembly and the field of law lingers at 13 and 17 percent respectively, the law cannot effectively stimulate progress in gender issues.
This can change as time goes by. Increased numbers of women are being educated, passing the Higher Civil Service Examination and becoming government ministers. Things are better than in the past, and there may come a day when a women-only law school and even the Ministry of Gender Equality may make their exit. But that day is not today.
Today it is high time for us to launch a special mission. A mission raising women lawyers who can work for the rights of minorities, enhance gender equality and raise issues of social justice. The Ewha Law School aims for all of these.
When the mission is accomplished, I promise to by all means support the three men now in the middle of a legal proceeding. I truly desire to be able to keep my promise.
저작권자 © Ewha Voice 무단전재 및 재배포 금지