The Soongsil Times
Feminism; Rich vs Poor
Choi Jung-min (Editor-in-Chief)  |
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[163호] 승인 2015.11.14  22:23:30
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Do you think that the gap in terms of one’s economic status in a society is justifiable? If so, then to what extent? One can imagine numerous variations of yeses and noes each backed up by different variations of reasons based on ideals, cultural background and so one. Nevertheless, regardless of the appeal for the idea, the gap between the rich and the poor have always existed in human societies. Its influence can be found in every aspect of modern societies. So it’s not surprising that one can question the influence of current economical gap between individuals in today’s South Korea on South Korea’s feminism movement. In fact, it divides the movement of feminism into the rich and the poor.
Of course, this is not to say that difference in one’s economic power is good or bad. There have been many attempts by people not happy about the idea of inequality to create a society where everyone is equal in one’s economical status. However, none of the programs launched in that idea survives to this day. It seems that whether we like it or not, economical gap between rich and poor is not going anywhere anytime soon.
However, even if we assume that we concede with the idea of economical gaps between individuals, one can ask as to what extent this gap can be counted as acceptable. If the gap becomes too wide to the point where it is impossible for a person to reach a certain level of economic wealth without help outside of his/ her capacity such as parental heritage, the feeling of deprivation can cause conflicts between the rich and the poor in the society. The idea of feminism is not impervious to this conflict.
From its very beginning, the idea of feminism has been advocated among women and men alike, promoting equal rights to both sexes. Although the core idea of feminism remains the same amongst the majority of the movement, there are many variations to this idea. What if the idea of feminism differs among certain classes of one’s economic status? If the economic gap between different economic classes becomes too wide, can it be possible that the demands made by feminists may differ between the rich and the poor?
The answer to this question is true for South Korea, which is not surprising when considering the fact that South Korea ranks 13st in the OECD’s list for income inequality in terms of Gini coefficient in 2012. While the relatively few but wealthy population of women enjoys luxurious lives, the majority of the women are among the low-income population. The different environments in which each class lives in creates different feminism demands. While it is hard to say which of them is right or wrong, it is no doubt that this division of force will diminish the current strength of the South Korea’s feminism movement.
Although it is hard to predict about the exact implication of this division of feminism movement, it is bound to create social problems alongside with other issues regarding to the income inequality problem. If the gap between the rich and the poor does not narrow, conflicts among the feminism movement in South Korea are bound to occur.

▲ Shin Myung-jong (Department of Economics, 10)

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