The university’s Institute of Gender and Law held a seminar about the 8th Government Report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) agenda on April 24.
The CEDAW was established in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, and it strives to demolish all discrimination against women. It officially took effect in September 1981 and it requires countries to submit national reports every four years and go through an international revision process about the reports.
The seminar was comprised of lectures on four topics by Yoon Jiyoung (research member from Korean Institute of Criminology), Kim Jungyeon (planning team leader from Korean Institute of Criminology), Cho Yeonsook (head of the Institute of Gender and Law), and Choi Yoo-jin (research member from Korean Women’s Development Institute), respectively.
The first topic of the seminar was the Issue on Legal Criminal Suit for Prevention of Secondary Victimization. One of the presentation topic was on how the victim’s background should not be used in court for exploitation as it could result in secondary victimization. Currently, a number of problems exist in the court, such as tampering with private details of victims. Yoon thus conveyed the significance of establishing laws to ensure prevention of the indiscriminate exposure of victims’ past sexual behavior in order to ensure their rights and privacy.
In the next topic, Kim stressed the Standards for Evaluating the Crimes of Sexual Assault and the Following Solutions. Debates were held on the rules that define sex crimes, which were divided into “rape crime” and “forced indecent act crime.” In the former case, a noticeable infliction of abuse that oppresses the victim’s will has to take place for it to be considered a crime. The latter case deals with criminalizing the act of “abuse” that humiliates the other. It was concluded in the discussion that there should be an open definition of sex crimes that does not narrow itself to “rape crime.”
Further discussion took place on the Analysis of Female Representation in National Employment, Related Legislations and Solutions. Cho emphasized the current representation of females in the job industry as nothing to be pessimistic about, yet the rate of female civil servants at the third level and above was reported to be appallingly low. In order to fix gender inequality in employment, the active implementation of an employment gender equality law and policies to support women in the fields of science and technology have been suggested.
The discussion led to debates on the Current Construction of Coordination System and on Assignments to Push for Gender Equality. Choi called for a widespread principle and belief in gender equality to be ingrained within the social structure by practically applying them to the real issues that take place within society. After the seminar, an anonymous student gave positive feedback on the event.
“I always had an interest in discrimination against women, and since I also took the Law and Gender class, this motivated me to participate in this special seminar,” she said. “By participating in this event, I was able to realize how the conflict over sexual harassment is serious and widespread in today’s society in Korea.”