Even though the West is considered by many as the most developed of societies in the world there are still social issues that a majority of the people living in the West have to fight every day for. Growing class divisions, racism and sexism are some of the social issues brought by capitalism – issues that have been solved with socialism.
President Kim Il Sung saw that the emancipation of women was equally important as the emancipation of the Korean people.
The Law on Sex Equality was implemented on July 30, 1946. The Law on Sex Equality emphasized equal rights in all spheres of life like free marriage and divorce, equal rights to inherit property and to share property in case of divorce. It also ended arranged marriages, polygamy, concubinage, the buying and selling of women, prostitution, and the professional entertainer system – many which were laws mainly used to oppress and humiliate the Korean women during the Japanese occupation. Laws to ensure social equality were also introduced in order to not only bring equality for women at home but also in the workplace, like the Labour Law, and the Law on Nationalization of Essential Industries. It’s worth to remember that while the Korean women were granted social justice with the Korean revolution, that their Irish counterpart had to wait another 50 years until the right to free divorce became legal (Divorce were illegal in Ireland before June 17, 1996). A woman in the US could even get fired from her job for being pregnant by as late as 1978 and marital rape wasn’t even recognized as rape until the mid 70’s and not before 1993 it was criminalized by all states in the US.
The main focus of the Workers’ Party of Korea have always been to improve the lives of the Korean people who now enjoy full control of their own lives. President Kim Il Sung made sure that there would be built facilities to facilitate for women, like rest homes for women and maternity hospitals. Under the leadership of Generalissimo Kim Jong Il, nursery schools extended their weeks so they are now open on Saturdays to further facilitate women. The Chollima Movement in the 1950’s were also one successful campaign led by the Workers’ Party of Korea, also focused on women’s policy and socialized household work, which traditionally fell upon the responsibility of women, by further introducing nursery schools, kindergartens, laundries and an even more efficient food industry. With the Chollima Movement, women represented 49% of the workforce by 1964. Between 1963 and 1989, the number of female professionals grew 10.6 times while their male counterpart only grew 2.5 times and women made up 37% of the working professionals by 1989. Women were further encouraged by the Workers’ Party of Korea to follow this positive trend. The social progress of the Chollima Movement did not unsurprisingly increase the productivity of the DPRK as well as the technological, ideological and cultural revolutions of the DPRK. In 1961, a statue of the Chollima was raised on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang to honour the heroism and invincible fighting spirit of the Korean people like the legendary winged Chollima. The Chollima statue is mounted by a male worker who’s holding high the Red Letter of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and a female peasant woman holding a sheaf of rice, representing the Korean people (the Red Letter was an appeal to the workers of the DPRK to increase production in the 50’s).
March 8, International Women’s Day, is celebrated by progressives all over the world, but in this day and age there are only a few countries that have kept it as a national holiday, and of course, the DPRK is one of them. Every year on March 8 there are grand celebrations to commemorate the important part and role that all women have in society.