I had an interview with Prof. Michael Meyers, the new host of “Soul of Asia” on tbs, yesterday and I talked about two organizations that women married to Koreans can join. One is ISKA, International Spouses of Koreans Associations, and the other is the Married Women Migrants Human Rights Center. I joined the former more than five years ago when one of its founders, Ate Weng, was still in Korea. She used to work for the Korea Herald and the Korea Tourism Organization. Most of its members are from western countries, but sadly they’re not that active anymore.
Married Women Migrants Human Rights Center (Prof. Meyers said it should’ve been “Immigrant”) is sponsored by the Ministry of Gender Equality (yes, we need that in Korea!) and I was introduced to the center three years ago. Surprisingly, the Center is located less than a kilometer from where I live. Most of the women who come to the Center are from Asian countries (and who got married through matchmakers/agencies/cult). This is where I study Korean language. I was once asked by another Filipina two years ago if I don’t feel ashamed going to a Center filled with women who got married through an arranged marriage. I just answered “BAHKETTTT???” In one of my conversations with Emma, we laughed about some Pinays whose superiority complex exceeds that of Koreans.
Anyway, there was an article that came out on Korea Times of an interview with Gender Equality Minister Byun Do Yoon. She discussed about the ministry’s plans for migrant women.
Welfare for Migrant Women
Byun said she will take all the necessary steps to improve the human rights of migrant women married to Korean men. “We don’t have much knowledge and understanding of immigrant women, although they are playing a greater role in our society,” Byeon said.
She said they are maltreated and assaulted due to culture differences. “Not only foreign women but Korean spouses need education in forming harmonious families.”
Therefore, the ministry has been offering information related to interracial marriages and human rights so that Korean men can better understand about immigrant women. It has increased by five-fold the number of participants for education to 2,560 this year from 526, last year.
Foreign women who are suffering from domestic violence can get help by calling the emergency help center for immigrant women at 1577-1366 around the clock throughout the year. The center provides legal and medical services in eight foreign languages including English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai and Cambodian. Also, the number of shelters for those foreign women suffering from domestic violence will be increased to 14 this year from four.
The ministry will also expand support programs for disabled women and use welfare centers to counsel and help them find jobs. Centers fighting sexual violence and shelters for sex assault victims will be expanded for underprivileged women. Currently, there are 19 counseling centers and two shelters.
Korea Has A Long Way To Go For Gender Equality
I’ll be posting more information about the Center on my other blog. You can also find information on government programs (like Mother-Child Welfare) there.
I took the photo above at the Women’s Center. It is in support of a young Cambodian immigrant who stabbed her husband in defense.
Here’s an interesting survey of married immigrants in Korea.