Ms. Namsik Jeong Global Peace Women Leadership Conference 2014

Global Peace Foundation
October 15, 2014

I would like to express sympathy on the content Dr. Jang Whakyong’s presentation.

The life style, culture, and the form of the family members have changed due to the industrialization and the aging of the society; and the low birth rate as well as the aging problems are on the rise. The weakened support system as the result of the aging society, weakened sense of community by the individualism, increased unemployment rate, and the competitive social structure are all contributing to the gap of the rich and poor and increasing the poverty. In the society like this, women’s leadership that can independently increase the quality of life and offer the opportunity for every individual as well as build a stable family is on demand. A leadership of woman, who is the key person in the family that can strengthen the solidarity of the family members and guarantee the sense of community within the family is expected to be the key to the social change. Dr. Jang has brought forth a suggestion that there needs to be new paradigm in relation to the women’s leadership to complete the tasks from the social change. I would like to ask then, what are some detail solutions for the increasing poverty issues, and what are some roles us women need to undertake in situations like this?

Although there are various welfare systems, it is hard to determine whether some of the systems are effective and lasting. I believe that to break away from the poverty, one not only needs to rely on the social welfare system, but also needs to change his or her perspectives as well as to try hard independently. Just as how the family problem leads to social problem, we are not facing a situation where the women’s perspective needs to change more than anything. Children learn from their parents and the environment the parents created for them. So we must think deeply, on how big and important the role of women that are wives, daughters, and sisters is. The change in perspective begins from education.

The importance of education can easily be seen when we take a look at the hardships of the increasing number of the multicultural family. I am one of the multicultural families. My daughter who is in an elementary school, there is a class for multicultural families. As I met other moms from Philippines and Vietnam, I found one thing common among us. Since the mothers’ Korean speaking ability is not good enough, this affects the study achievement of the children and they face hard time adjusting to the school. This often leads to an issue with outcast, but as the mothers themselves are busy adjusting to Korea and they do not have an experience or source of information to educate their children, the education problem is not being fixed in the family, which then leads to the problem in school and society. Such families also tend to face financial issues.

The problem not only lies on the multicultural families, but also on the families that are disadvantaged. There are various education contents out there, but most of the kids in poverty are not exposed to such education and they fall behind on the change in schools and the society. I began to seriously think about the ways we can overcome this poverty cycle that never seems to end. I was not all that alerted to the role as a mother in the family, change in the society, and the social issues. But I noticed that when I transform my perspectives through different education and deal with my children, they too, change and grow with me. It is times like that when I realize the importance of education. My son who is in high school was not someone who was active in school with leadership. Although, he had a little bit of an interest in history, he did not know what he wanted to do in his future. As him and I began to discuss more in depth about his future and the directions he would be taking, we experienced a transformation in our perspective. He now is at a school that he wanted to go to and is very active in various things. When I see him all proud of himself and finding his pathways, I think to myself that he can meet a bright future. It is small, but I realized how important it is to change your perspective through education. Let me tell you something I read on the book. “One of the hardest things to do when kids are just learning to say in symbolic way, is to cut their umbilical cords. This is a must for a child’s development. If you want to teach your child how to ride a bike, you need to hold his bike at first, but you must let go at some point so the child can ride on his own. If a child is used to getting help all the time, will he ever learn how to ride a bike by himself? If a child is always reliant, he cannot grow and be independent to plant his seeds for success”. A change in women’s perspective is very important. A women’s role is needed in family and the society, and the areas where women can work and be active are much broader nowadays.

Women should work hard to widen their views to go out in the society and break the cycle of poverty and overcome it through a society where the social welfare has their backs. They should work for their families as mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, and apply this in the society and bring out the sense of community, a sense that we are all one. Women should recognize the importance of their role as educators and use their talents of leadership as well as their natural talents in the world. When they use their hopes and their skills to figure out the ways to end poverty and follow through the plan, I believe that they will make a family and the society where happy lives exists. Thank you.

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