korea project

World March of Women 2005: for peace and elimination of poverty and violence

July 4, 2005


We who have gathered for the World March of Women 2005 are here to call for an end to threats to the peaceful co-existence of all humankind, including the ever-widening gap between rich and poor countries and the impoverishment of women, violence against women and the deepening of this violence resulting from unchecked globalization.

The World March of Women (WMW), which began on March 8, 2005 in Brazil and will end on October 17 in Burkina Faso, Africa, was greeted in Seoul by a 'Korean Women's March for Peace and Elimination of Poverty and Violence.' The march included Philippine and Japanese women who came to strengthen ties with Korean women.

The Charter of World Women's Rights, drafted by women who took part in the WMW, is based on the spirit of freedom, justice, peace and solidarity and makes clear that there is no freedom without equality and no peace without justice. It also emphasizes the importance of responsibility and the unity of people in achieving peaceful co-existence, of not just among humans but also between humans and the environment that we share with other beings.

The Charter goes on to state that neither the eradication of poverty and violence against women bred in patriarchal cultures, nor the unity of racial, physical and social minorities - in fact none of women's goals of equality, freedom, justice and peace - can be achieved without a just distribution of wealth and recognition of the value of women's care giving labor.

Now the march of Korean women has begun, to accomplish equal labor for equal pay, peace in the Korean peninsula, and the eradication of sexual crimes and violence

Women's right to work is seriously threatened in a society where 65 percent of married women are forced to quit their jobs in order to raise children or care for other family members and the ratio of women's participation in economic activity reaches only 49.8 percent. Besides giving birth, child-rearing and other domestic work are left mainly to women. This is a reason why 73 percent of female workers hold temporary positions that are unstable and discriminated against in the labor market. Women get paid on average 56 percent of what men make and get ever poorer as the income gap widens. Thus we are here today to help advance the realization of an equal society where the right of women to work is acknowledged and nurtured.

On the other hand, two new laws against sexual crimes and domestic violence are found to be useless in preventing the violence at hand. The authorities’ male-centered mentality slows their protection and support for the victims while men in general do not feel the need to change or participate. Thus we are here to help advance the realization of just society where women's rights are protected and violence against women is halted.

In particular, the authorities have behaved as if powerless before the big traffickers who claim to be protecting the prostitutes and demand the legalization of the sex trade, when in reality they have been earning dirty money by using the system that makes it easy to exploit women. Thus we are here to reject the logic of capital and the interest groups who pursue money at the cost of community values.

The military culture rooted in this divided country, and the 36 years of experience as a Japanese colony have prevented peaceful lives for many women. Recent army incidents speak volumes about how violations of human rights and the overall violent atmosphere of this society are bred. Thus we are here to demand both protection of soldiers' basic human rights and an end to the military culture, along with peace in the Korean peninsula.

To end poverty and violence, and achieve peace, we hereby declare that:

1. We will work to make an equal society where women's labor is fairly valued, and will oppose the violence and discrimination against women taking place daily in homes and places of work.

2. We will march for the goal that no woman will suffer from any sexual crime or act of domestic violence.

3. We will do our best to achieve peace in everyday life and stop any war, armed strife and violence within the army to bring peace in Korea, Asia and, finally, the world.