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We, 116 global civil society organizations, call on Yoon Suk-yeol, the president-elect of the Republic of Korea, to withdraw his pledge to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Yoon Suk-yeol, the candidate of the People Power Party (PPP), won the presidential election on March 9 in South Korea. During the campaign, Yoon and the PPP actively stirred up and capitalized on the anti-feminist backlash, instead of proposing reasonable policy solutions to current critical issues, including deepening economic inequalities after the Covid-19 outbreak and gender-based discrimination and violence entrenched in society. In particular, Yoon made abolishing the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family a central pledge of his campaign, saying that there is no systemic gender discrimination in South Korea. Now discussions are underway regarding the governmental reorganization in the presidential transition committee, but he has not yet withdrawn his promise to abolish the Ministry. We, the global civil society organizations, are strongly concerned about his position.

While women’s long struggles have brought achievements on gender equality and women’s rights, we are now facing global crises, such as widening inequalities, climate injustice, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the growing trends of regression in women’s rights. The South Korean government, as the chair of the Asia-Pacific Group of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and a member of the UN Human Rights Council, is currently playing a leading role in gender equality and women’s rights at a global level. The idea of abolishing the Ministry is a serious regression on women’s rights, which will have a detrimental impact not only on South Korea, but also on the Asia-Pacific region and the international community.

The importance of a gender equality national machinery with adequate resources and budget was already recognized in the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, a global norm on women’s rights unanimously adopted by 189 countries, including South Korea. In 2021, the UN Commission on the Status of Women recommended in the 65th Agreed Conclusions that the national governments strengthen the capacity of national machineries for gender equality by allocating sufficient financial, technical and human resources, to enable them to effectively carry out their mandates.

South Korea is classified as a developed country on economic and social scales, but there is still a long way to go in terms of women’s rights. We, global civil society organizations, strongly call on the president-elect Yoon and the PPP to recognize its obligation to advance gender equality and come up with practical and substantive policy measures to strengthen the mandate and the role of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. Lastly, we deeply respect, support and will continue to stand in solidarity with courageous South Korean women and feminists who are fighting for changes towards gender equality and women’s rights.

Signed by 116 global civil society organizations and 17 Gender Scholars/Independent Feminist Activists

(Global organizations)

  1. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (Global)
  2. Equality Now (Global)
  3. Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)(Global)
  4. Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP)(Global)
  5. International Alliance of Women (Global)
  6. MenEngage Global Alliance (Global)
  7. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (Global)
  8. Women's Major Group (Global)
  9. Human Rights Watch (Global)

(Regional organizations)

  1. Arab Women Network for Parity & Solidarity (Arab region)
  2. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)(Asia-Pacific)
  3. Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) (Asia-Pacific)
  4. Beijing-SDG5 Facilitation Group (Asia-Pacific)
  5. Cross-Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants (MENA, Gulf, and Euro-Mediterranean Regions)
  6. ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey (Western Balkans and Turkey)
  7. FEMNET- African Women’s Development and Communication Network (Africa)
  8. International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP) (Asia-Pacific)
  9. Migrant Forum in Asia (Asia-Pacific)
  10. Sangat (South Asia)

(National/local organizations)

  1. ACbit (Timor Leste)
  2. Acción Ciudadana por la Democracia y el Desarrollo (Ecuador)
  3. ACLCVBG (Cape Verde)
  4. Adéquations (France)
  5. All Women Action Society (AWAM)(Malaysia)
  6. Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women (Philippines)
  7. Arab Women Organization of Jordan (Jordan)
  8. Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (Philippines)
  9. Association ESE (North Macedonia)
  10. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) (India)
  11. Beyond Borders Malaysia (Malaysia)
  12. Blind Women Association – Nepal (Nepal)
  13. Centro Alma Sabatini (Italy)
  14. Coordinadora de la Mujer (Bolivia)
  15. Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality (Fiji)
  16. Education for Social Justice Foundation (United States)
  17. Ekologi Maritim Indonesia (EKOMARIN)(Indonesia)
  18. Equal opportunities office, LaUnited Statesnne University (Switzerland)
  19. Equality Rights Alliance (Australia)
  20. Equidad de Genero ciudadania trabajo y familia (Mexico)
  21. Eur (Germany)
  22. Fiji Women's Rights Movement (Fiji)
  23. FOKUS - Forum for Women and Development (Norway)
  24. Fondation Eboko (France)
  25. Fondazione Pangea (Italy)
  26. Foundation for Women (Thailand)
  27. Fund for Congolese Women (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  28. Fundacion Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual (México)
  29. Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar, A. C. MEXFAM(México)
  30. Gender Equity: Citizenship, Work and Family (Mexico)
  31. Gender Solution (Poland)
  32. Gender-Centru (Republic of Moldova)
  33. GenDev Centre for Research and Innovation (India)
  34. Good Shepherd Sisters (South Korea)
  35. Hackney Green Party (United Kingdom)
  36. Independent citizen (Malaysia)
  37. Japan Women’s Watch (Japan)
  38. Karapatan (Philippines)
  39. Korea Center for United Nations Human Rights Policy (KOCUN) (South Korea)
  40. Kyiv Institute for Gender Studies (Ukraine)
  41. MADPET-Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Malaysia)
  42. Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
  43. MARIJÀN (Haïti)
  44. MSI Reproductive Choices (United Kingdom)
  45. Nabi United States Washington DC (United States)
  46. Nashinoki Peace Academy (Japan)
  47. National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF)(Nepal)
  48. National Council of Women of Ukraine, Centre for Social and Gender Research (Ukraine)
  49. Network of Women's Rights of Ghana (NETRIGHT)(Ghana)
  50. New Women Foundation (Egypt)
  51. Nijera Kori (Bangladesh)
  52. PA Women's organization Alga (Kyrgyzstan)
  53. Pacific Human Rights Initiative (Samoa)
  54. PacificwinPacific (Australia)
  55. Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS)(Malaysia)
  56. Penang Gandhi Peace Centre (Malaysia)
  57. People's Empowerment Foundation (Thailand)
  58. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (Malaysia)
  59. Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan (Malaysia)
  60. PO"Otifa"(Tajikistan)
  61. POURAKHI Nepal (Nepal)
  62. Punjab Women Collective (India)
  63. PUPA(Indonesia)
  64. ReFocus Consulting (Canada)
  65. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (United States)
  66. Roots for Equity (Pakistan)
  67. Rumpun (Yogyakarta Indonesia)
  68. S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR)(India)
  69. Shobujer Ovijan Foundation (SOF)(Bangladesh)
  70. Sisters in Islam (Malaysia)
  71. Social Health and Empowerment Youth Initiative (Uganda)
  72. Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Malaysia)
  73. Solidaritas Perempuan(Indonesia)
  74. Soroptimist International (United Kingdom)
  75. Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD)(Zambia)
  76. Stephanie Ortoleva Consulting (United States)
  77. Sukaar Welfare Organization (Pakistan)
  78. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy (Malaysia)
  79. The Foundation for Elimination of Violence Against Women "Mitra Perempuan"(Indonesia)
  80. The Gender Lens (United Kingdom)
  81. The William Gomes Podcast (United Kingdom)
  82. The WomanStats Project (United States)
  83. Unchained At Laat (United States)
  84. United Reformed Church/ World Communion of Reformed Churches (United Kingdom)
  85. Viluthu (Sri Lanka)
  86. We Women Lanka (Sri Lanka)
  87. Women Engage for a Common Future - WECF (Netherlands)
  88. Women In The Loop Ltd. (United Kingdom)
  89. Women Studies and Resource Center (Philippines)
  90. Women's Coalition-Turkey (Turkey)
  91. Women's NGOs Cooperation Network of Latvia (Latvia)
  92. Women's Support and Information Centre NPO (Estonia)
  93. WSCFAP (Hong Kong)
  94. WWHR - New Ways (Turkey)
  95. YAPESDI(Indonesia)
  96. Young Feminists Collective (Philippines)
  97. YUWA(Nepal)

(Gender Scholars / Independent Feminist Activists)

  1. Sandra Fahy (Carleton University, Canada)
  2. Margaret Holland (Columbia University, United States)
  3. Nur Aini (Freelance Consultant, Indonesia)
  4. Leroy Romane (Graduate student, South Korea)
  5. Erlinda Binti Joseph (Lindu) (Independent Gender Consultant, Malaysia)
  6. Eunha Kim (South Korea)
  7. Suguna Papachan (Malaysia)
  8. Marina PervinJuthi (Initiative for Right View (IRV), Bangladesh)
  9. Matthew Girsangv (Indonesia)
  10. Miyeon Choi (South Korea)
  11. Talisha Schilder (Leiden University, the Netherlands)
  12. Mabel Bianco (Feminist Medical Doctor, Argentina)
  13. Ruth Mbone (Kenya)
  14. Daniela Jaukv(United States)
  15. Ho Yock Lin (Feminist Activist, Malaysia)
  16. Dale Snauwaert (University of Toledo, United States)
  17. Yuenmei Wong (Feminist Researcher, Malaysia)

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