The First Feminist Party in South Korea Seeks Parliament Seats in Upcoming Elections

South Korea’s first feminist party is looking to win seats in the upcoming Parliamentary elections. Founded during last month’s International Women’s Day, the party is hoping to influence women through its activism against the country’s spy cam porn epidemic. 

In the last two years, more than 11,200 spy cam cases have been reported to the police. In 2018 alone, more than 6,000 cases were reported. The year before in 2017, 6,500 cases were reported with 5,400 suspects arrested for spy cam related crimes. Only 2% of perpetrators are jailed; many of them receive a fine. 

Perpetrators set up hidden cameras in public places and can make up to $90,000 a month selling the footage online. The blatant violation of privacy and the realities of life for sexual crime victims in South Korea, have driven women to suicide.

According to the Korean Development Women’s Institute, one in four victims of secret filming have thought about suicide, with 16% having planned their own suicide and 23 women having taken their own life, including K-Pop artist Goo Hara in November of 2019. Like many women, being a victim of a sex crime didn’t exempt Hara from being harassed and shamed.

Female activists want to take this issue, along with the issues like the gender pay gap, employment and childcare, to Parliament. Four female candidates are working to secure either 6% of all women’s votes to secure of a seat or 3% of the popular vote.

The party has about 10,000 members, most of them under age 30. Currently, men dominate the country’s two largest political parties, the progressive Democratic Party and the conservative Unified Future Party. Women represent just 17% of the outgoing Parliament. 

The Realist Woman’s take:

A BBC article said South Korea is the “Global Epicenter,” for this spy cam porn. 

This issue, and the fact that this society clearly doesn’t value women, is what has propelled women to run for office. These crimes have taken a toll on women and they victims lack support and care from the government. I’m always inspired by the women who decide to take their concerns into their own hands to create change.

Elections are this week and this is a deeply patriarchal society. I’m rooting for this party and for all of the female candidates. It does take government representation and a check on culture to make a difference.