Extra! Korea

July 28, 2010

Lawmakers to be urged to take anti-sexual harassment education

Filed under: gender equality — extrakorea @ 3:00 am

You may have heard about this incident, which took place earlier this month:

A group of students who attended a dinner with disgraced Grand National lawmaker Kang Yong-seok last week confirmed yesterday that the lawmaker made sexually inappropriate remarks, corroborating an earlier JoongAng Ilbo report that has rocked the nation.

The 41-year-old first-term lawmaker has found himself in hot water after the JoongAng Ilbo reported on Tuesday that he made lewd remarks at a dinner with university students last Friday [July 16].

[ snip ]

Kang was quoted by students at the dinner party as telling a female student who wanted to become a television anchorwoman that she’d have to be prepared to “go all the way” to succeed in the profession.

He told another student who visited the Blue House that President Lee Myung-bak probably would have asked for her phone number “if the president’s wife hadn’t been there.” About half of the 20 students at the dinner were female.

Because of it, lawmakers are going to be encouraged to take anti-sexual harassment education.

“Upon the request of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, lawmakers will be asked to participate in annual mandatory sex crime-prevention education for the first time since the National Assembly provided the training in 2004,” an official of the National Assembly Secretariat told The Korea Times, Tuesday.

She said the training will consist of two two-hour sessions and will take place on Aug. 19 and 23.

[ snip ]

Lee said the Secretariat will only be able to encourage participation of lawmakers and it is doubtful whether it can force them to receive the training.

[ snip ]

Cho said the ministry may announce the participation rate of lawmakers in the program and even summon the person in charge of running it at the Assembly, should the turnout rate be disappointing.

She claims that the ministry has the authority to notify the public as to the outcome of the program and can go as far as making a list of lawmakers who have dodged it.

Good luck with that. I think you might need it.

Jung pointed out those with more power recorded a much lower participation rate, with that of the prosecution hovering around 79 percent, roughly 15 percentage points below the average.

The participation rate among the heads of state-run bodies was 87.2 percent, while that of the heads of police officers was 68 percent, he said.

Police chiefs have the lowest participation rate?! Geez. Then again, maybe that helps to explain why the police in South Korea don’t take sexual harassment as seriously as those in some other countries do.

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