Sponsored by 4 feminist media including The Women’s News
The women groups in Korea are going to invite presidential candidates to a TV debate series to talk about their women-related policies for 4 days starting from November 21.
The ‘Preparatory Committee for the Debate on Women Policies of the 16th Presidential Election Candidates,’ made up of over 80 women groups including Women’s Hotline, Womenlink Korea and 21st Century Forum, announced its plans on November 13. The 4 main presidential candidates will be invited to attend separate discussions, which will be held in the international meeting room on the 2nd floor of the Broadcasting Center.
The debate, entitled ‘Women’s Vision, New Leadership,’ will open from November 21, inviting New Millennium Democratic Party’s Roh Mu Hyun on the 21st, Democratic Labor Party’s Kwon Young Gil on the 22nd, National Unity 21’s Chung Mong Jun on the 25th and Grand National Party’s Lee Hwe Chang on the 26th. The debates will be telecast live for one-and-a-half hours from 11 am by Korea Broadcasting Service.
Each candidate will be seated close to the audience and the audience seated in an oval formation to create a natural ambience to the discussion. Moderating the debate will be Sociology Professor Lee Young Ja from the Catholic University of Korea, and a panel of 15 will be throwing questions at the candidate. The panel consists of 5 experts each from a variety of fields. The questions will be categorized into 5 main areas, namely education, labor, health and environment, reunification and politics, and human rights and welfare.
The preparatory committee plans to obtain the candidate’s answers to women-related issues in advance to make tables and graphs that will be shown during the debate. Common questions that will be put to all 4 candidates include ▲timing for the abolishment of the hoju system and alternatives ▲proportion of increased budget for childcare ▲employment problems ▲expansion of women’s participation in politics ▲measures to prevent prostitution.
The organizers explained the purpose of the debates by saying, “Many media are actively examining the presidential candidates, but women’s issues are still far down the agenda list. The debates will serve to relay the women voters’ voice to politicians and to examine the candidates’ gender awareness and women policies.”
Kim Gi Seon-Mi, policy director with KWAU, says that she will focus on “how detailed and realistically possible the candidates’ women policies are.” She asks viewers to “watch closely to see if the candidates have proper attitudes towards women’s issues and if they regard women’s issues as a national agenda.”
The TV debate organized by women is the second of its kind, with the first having taken place in 1997 during the 15th presidential election and organized by 88 women groups together with The Women’s News. The main results of the 1997 debate would be the inauguration of the Gender Equality Ministry - which was a hot issue at that time - and the stipulation of the women’s quota in the Political Party Act. This year’s debate includes more sponsors: feminist media companies including Miz. N and The Women’s News.