Director Chang leads reformation for women’s power and role
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Director Chang leads reformation for women’s power and role
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2014.03.02 09:34
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Chang Pil-hwa ('74, English Language and Literature) leads another refrmation for women's power and role in society. Photo provided by Chang Pil-hwa.
When Chang, as a college student, participated in extracurricular activities with male students from other universities, she realized that male and female students are drastically different, that they make different decisions even when they confront similar situations. “Around the mid-70’s, it was important for male students to go to the military though they do not have a decision and to choose their career,” Chang said. “For female students, the question of whether they should get married, and whether they should get a job was an issue. For women, it was commonly believed that marriage is more important to them than anything else.” Then Chang wondered why and how the differences between two sexes came about. These questions led her to work at the Christian Academy as an assistant administrator for women’s society. When the status of women became a worldly issue, Korea also examined women’s social status in the country. In the midst of this movement, Chang came back to Korea, finishing her studies abroad, and became the country’s very first professor in Women’s Studies in 1984. Being the “first” meant that she had to create something new; she cannot deny the fact that she was much stressed by the demand. “Women’s Studies is fairly similar to medical school in ways that they both diagnose and treat pain and illness,” Chang said. “Women’s Studies is about social analysis, and further about how to bring change. If the former, analysis, is identified as theory, the latter, bringing about change, is putting into practice.” Even though it was a challenge to create and think of something new, the process was simultaneously an excitement for Chang. “The research that I am doing is something that has never been done; it is something new,” Chang said. “It is a research that focuses on half of the population, female, and also analyzes the relationship it has with the other half-male.” According to Chang, Women’s Studies has made many changes and impacts in the society by making many bold attempts and establishing important theories in a fairly short period of time, for 30 years. Currently, Chang works as the Director of Asia Center for Women’s Studies. Starting from 2005, she has been hosting the Congress of the Asian Association of Women’s Studies, exchanging and fostering future Asian women leaders. “Through the exchange, we learn so much from one another,” Chang said. “I realized that we have to continue working together to learn the values that we have lost in the past, and I greatly look forward to seeing the future women leaders contribute to the society in their own countries like previous students at Ewha did.” Chang emphasizes that Ewha is largely different from other universities as it contributes to the country with its value of educating women. “Ewha is unique and has built a new paradigm,” Chang said. “The role that Ewha has taken in the entire Korean society has personally moved and inspired me.” Also, as the Director of Ewha Institute for Leadership Development, Chang highlights the importance and the need of women’s leadership and development, and for Ewha students to continue taking the role. “Since 120 years ago when Ewha started with one student, it has grown so much so now Ewha has to return this to the society,” Chang said. “It is not certainly for Ewha’s dignity, but for a better position and role for women in the Korean society. With women’s power, Ewha can contribute in three areas: business sector, public service, and NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) and NPO (Non-Profit Organization) education.” Chang urges that the period at college is not for building specs, such as taking the TOEFL or TOEIC test again and again to get a better score, or competing with other students. It is really about finding that one thing that students want to do for the rest of their lives. “It becomes fairly difficult for students to find their ways when they are discouraged,” Chang said. “While in college, questioning and searching for what I can do best and what I want is by far most important. Students should not follow what everyone else is doing, but rather experiment and maybe, even wander around.”

 


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