HBphotoby Hayley Bang, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in American delegate to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women

The day before attending CSW57, I read a news article that stated in 2012, one South Korean woman was killed by her intimate partner per three days. Around 120 women were killed by their intimate partners in one year.

“男尊女卑 女必從夫” has been the key concept for the gender hierarchy of Korea. The first four letters literarily mean men are higher than women, and second half means women must follow or obey their husbands. I was also a victim of this concept which still is exercised unconsciously among Koreans and the first generation of Korean Americans. I always questioned why men and women are not equal and especially questioned about the unfairness about male dominant society where not only men but also women oppressing other women.

So, for me, the opportunity to be in part of CSW57 is a great opportunity to learn about women’s rights on a global scale. I was very nervous and excited about it. I was able to attend different side events and events that led by the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, and I learned a lot of new things about different cases of violence against women. I was impressed by the quote that “Women’s Rights = Human Rights.” However, I was sad about the fact that we still talk about women’s rights rather than just human rights, in a sense of gender inequality. It is sad that what gender you are born determines whether you have more rights compared to other gender. It is not limited to one particular area in the world, but it was a global problem. Yes, we are all different, yet women were similarly oppressed by the other gender and also by other women.

However, I do not give up there. I believe in unity in diversity yet variety. I know that we need different approaches to different cultures to end the violence against women. However, we are one and in the same purpose, we are united as one during CSW57. We are shouting and acting together with one voice to end the violence against women. CSW57 was the place to gather those voices together, and act together, yet gave us wisdom and knowledge about how to contextualize in each culture to end the violence against women. Thanks be to God about the people that I met during CSW57, the experiences I had, and more importantly thanks be to God that God is working in us, with us and calling us to be God’s people and to look after each other.