GEM/GII, Feminism in Korea’s Past, and More on Mad Men

Last time, our discussion in class focused on Mad Men and then in the panel discussion on Feminism and its translatability to other cultures, such as Korea.

It was suggested that womens’ status in Korea is “settled” and therefore not really an issue any longer. I suggested students have a look at how Korea fares by international standards, such as the UN GEM (Gender Empowerment Measure) (South Korea ranks 61st in the world as of 2009, after many developing countries) and Gender Inequality Index (South Korea ranked 20th in the world in 2010, apparently because health and education are very available to Korean women despite the apparent empowerment disparity).

This is worth talking about. Also worth a look at past Korean feminist actions, such as the protests by Korean feminists in early postcolonial Korea. A few examples are mentioned near the end of this blog post, which includes translations of news articles from the time, and discusses anxieties at the time about feminism, “too much democracy” and womens’ “mistaken idea of equality,” and the pernicious foreign influence of the West in spreading such, ahem, dangerous ideas.

Have a look at those things, and let’s talk on Thursday. It’d be nice if you’d also watch Mad Men again, so you can relate it to the discussion. (After all, the Mad Men episode in the USA is set very close to the time when the news articles being discussed in the last link above were published… only ten years apart.)

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