International Women's Day to celebrate 100 years

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International Women's Day to celebrate 100 years

This year’s International Women’s Day has a special significance for women all around the world, as it marks 100 years of rallying for equal opportunities.

The International Women’s Day 100th anniversary event, celebrating the accomplishments of women around the world, will be held on March 8 at Seoul Women’s Plaza Art Hall.

“We are celebrating mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and workers,” said Susan Raphael, founder of the International Women’s Day Korea Committee and a member of the Seoul International Women’s Association. “And I think connecting with women all over the world, especially in the centenary anniversary, is important.”

The theme of the night supports the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who initiated a campaign in an effort to implement international standards to stop violence against women: “Unite - to end violence against women and girls.”

The evening will feature highlights from “Face,” a one-woman show written and performed by Harry Kim about Korean “comfort women,” who were forced to serve as sex slaves during World War II. The play was previously performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the soloNOVA Arts Festival in New York.

The night will conclude with the loud sound of traditional drumming performed by Korean women.

“It is also about connecting to all walks of life,” Raphael said. “We are trying to connect with those who are not so privileged and acknowledge that around the world and even in Korea, there are women for whom life is very tough.”

Members of Seoul International Women’s Association, which was founded in 1962 and has a membership of 1,000 women from 80 different countries, will join the events to mark the centenary, which falls on Saturday.

Lily Joenoes van Bunnik, the SIWA president, also talked about the importance of connecting with other women during SIWA's monthly Coffee Morning on Feb. 16.

“When I first came here it was very difficult for me because I used to have a job and used to be somebody,” van Bunnik said. “But I came here without an identity.” After signing up for a painting class at SIWA, she discovered her interest and hobby.

At the meeting, other members described their experiences.

Catherine Germier Hamel, whose husband is a diplomat, described how, since moving to Seoul, her life has changed completely.

“I realized women needed to be exposed as individuals,” Hamel said. “So being French, being a woman, I wanted to start a wine club for women and I created the club called Wine & Woman in Korea.”

The International Women’s Day Centenary Celebration is open to everyone and will start at 6 p.m. at Seoul Women’s Plaza Art Hall in Daebang-dong, Seoul. It costs 30,000 won ($26) per person, including a light buffet dinner. All proceeds go toward the anti-violence campaign. For more, visit www.internationalwomensdaykorea.com.


By Joni Sham Intern reporter [enational@joongang.co.kr]
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