A women's sub-committee has been formed under the Committee of Lay Apostles, one of the 16 committees within the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. As the first of its kind within the Korean Catholic Church, the women's subcommittee is expected to play a leading role in enhancing the status and human rights of catholic women in Korea.
The issue of a committee within the Catholic Church dedicated to women's affairs has been raised every year by catholic women since the Beijing World Women's Conference in 1995. But it was not even included in the agenda of the Bishops' Conference until the General Meeting in autumn last year.
The women's subcommittee convened its first meeting on March 2 and established its purpose as follows: ▲changing the Church's overall regard of women ▲developing women's leadership and capabilities ▲increasing cooperation between men and women within the Church ▲making women's activities the light of society. The committee will play an active role in social issues through its Social Participation and Human Rights departments. It is also planning to fight against sexual and domestic violence and other forms of infringement of women's human rights.
Ms. Lee Young-ja, the first chairperson of the women's subcommittee, says, "Instead of just insisting on upholding tradition, Catholicism should embrace equality and peace befitting the 21st century." She intends to call on the Church to overcome its conservatism and bring about actual equality within the Catholic order.
The women's committee will be holding its founding ceremony (Mass) and forum on June 14. It will take the opinions gathered at the forum on the direction of future activities to the General Meeting of the Bishops' Conference this autumn.