Demand for Female Rights? (Perspective of an Expert)
Demand for Female Rights? (Perspective of an Expert)
  • Reporter Chung Yu-sun
  • 승인 2012.12.05 18:26
  • 댓글 0
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In The Postech Times 47th newspaper, students’ opinions were gathered on the necessity of the Female Student Association. To elaborate on the matter, an expert’s opinion was sought from Professor Chang Phil-Wha, Ewha Womans University.
<Editor's Comment>

How has the role of Female Stu-dent Association changed from the past?
In the past, the main goal of the association was to participate in diverse social and political issues related to women, such as democratization and labor emancipation. As these issues have somewhat been resolved, the Female Student Associations should deal with female rights in the field of culture. Just as in POSTECH, Female Student Association needs to organize programs that will enhance the general welfare of female students, which includes educating on health, improving communication between the two genders, and preventing harassment within campus. If the past dealt with more direct problems against female discrimination, now, the association should take a step further to indicate and resolve indirect problems that may occur.

Why do you think universities specialized in science and technology need Female Student Associations?
In 2010, the number of people who graduated with their masters or Ph. D was around 72,733, but only 18,834 students were female, indicating a female to male ratio of 26%. When a specific group’s ratio reaches 30%, the group escapes the title of minority and is called a critical mass, indicating that there will be gradual improvement. As 26% is below the requirement to be a critical mass, female students are still considered to be minorities. In the case of POSTECH, the female students are minorities, with the ratio of 17%.
Within a group of people, if minorities’ opinions differ from those of majorities, they are in a difficult position to state their thoughts and make others look at the matters in their perspectives. With individual voices, it is likely that they will be considered to be exceptions or unnecessary, causing their opinions to be ignored. Once minorities experience such situations, they band together to speak their voice and demand change. Therefore, it is important for a Female Student Association to represent the voices of the female students.

Some male students think such an association is unfair and consider it as a symbol of discrimination against them. How should a Female Student Association react?
Gender equality does not define female chauvinism. It tries to provide a situation in which both male and female should be able to use their ability to its potential. Despite such efforts, our society considers gender equality to be a form of female chauvinism or discrimination against men. As a university is a place where there is a strong awareness that genders are equal, and since society has improved on such matters, it is possible for male students to feel that way.
In order to dissolve such misunder-standings, it is important to continuously discuss each side’s perspectives. If one desires one’s voice to be heard, one needs to listen to and try to understand the opponent’s position. Through communication, I hope that students will be able to experience each voice and understand each other.

What kind of prospect does the Female Student Association need to have, and what does it need to provide?
Although a Female Student Association has to manage on-campus female problems, it is also important that it shares problems that female students may encounter after graduation. For example, it can establish a project to deal with problems that may occur when it comes to job opportunities, sexual harassment, childbirth, and more. Apart from that, it can invite female seniors or other female scientists for advice, or organize a mentorship program. Especially since female Postechians are to become leaders in the field of science and technology, the Female Student Association needs to continuously provide opportunities that will make them strong leaders.