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The History of the YWCA Korea

The YWCA of Korea, which was founded in 1922 by Kim Hwal-lan, Kim Pil-lye,and Yoo Kak-kyung, led the movement to support local products based on patriotism as well as struggling to protect women's rights and status through the movements to abolish early marriage and licensed prostitution which distressed women of those days.

It became an important base to enhance leadership training and produce women leaders who could work in democratic and public areas from the 1950's to the 1960's.

In the 1970's, the YWCA did voluntary activities developing activities for poor areas and opened a peace class for laborers in the Chung-gye Stream. In addition, it also intervened in the labor disputes to protect the laborers' rights and focused on the programs to develop workingwomen's ability.

In the end of the 1980's, it promoted campaigns for economic independence including reduction of foreign debts and consumption, and carried out a movement to practice Right Life nationally.
In particular, after the IMF crisis in 1998, it promoted civil movements to restore our economy including campaigns to collect foreign currencies, food bank program, counseling and educational program for people who were laid off, and public work of recycling for unemployed women.

Besides, it carried out a campaign to reduce and recycle food waste and has been promoting the recycling campaign so far which began as ANABADA (saving, sharing, bartering, and recycling) campaign.

In addition, it started a movement to know North Korea correctly for the day of reunification and helped North Korean refugees adapt themselves to South Korean society. The YWCA also promoted a fund-raising campaign of national members to send powdered milk and underwear to North Korean children suffering from the cold and hunger, and was raising and operating a fund to rebuild the YWCA of North Korea which had established before the Korean War.

The History of the YWCA Korea

The YWCA decides the priority of activities which will be promoted by 55 member YWCAs throughout the nation in the National Council. We can see what kinds of women's activities the YWCA has carried out in Korean modern history by examining the main focuses of past movements.

1947 Newly devote yourselves
1948~1950 Lead the youth to Christ
1951~1954 By Christ's vital power
1955~1956 Renew in Christ
1957~195 8Rise and Go together
1959~1961 Women's demand - Our Christian duty
1962~1964 The present Korea and the YWCA
1965~1967 Feed my lamb
1968~1970 Tomorrow's challenge
1971~1973 Devote women's ability to the realization of social justice
1974~1976 Rise and shine - Toward peace and justice
1977~1980 The world where living together - Love your neighbors as your own body
1980~1982 May you accomplish your great purpose - For righteous and peaceful society
1983~1985 Wish God to have us as workers for love and peace
1986~1988 YWCA's mission toward the 21st century - See, I renew all things
1989~1991 YWCA's mission toward the 21st century - First save God's country and justice
1992~1994 The world where living together - By practicing righteous life
1995~1997 Respect and renew life
1998~2000 Face the 21st century with your neighbor and the world
2001~2003 The YWCA, the power to make peace
2004~2006 The healthy world made by women

The chronology of YWCA's activities described by pictures

THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND PATRIOTISM (1922~1945)

1922.4.20 Organizing the Korean Women's Christian Association Campaigns for eradication of illiteracy, enlightenment of rural area, temperance, and life development Movement to abolish early marriage and licensed prostitution Campaign to patronize and support home products Coercive unification of the YWCA of Korea with the YWCA of Japan Discontinuance of activities after Wonsan conference in 1941 (~1946)

THE AGE OF REHABILITATION OF THE YWCA AFTER THE KOREAN WAR (1945~1960)

Technological education like foreign dressmaking and knitting for war widows Relief works such as consoling wounded soldiers and helping war orphans Technological education for helpless girls in Dong-rae farm Specialized secretary training by studying abroad Organizing the local YWCAs and activating membership movements of the youth and university YWCAs Campaign to emphasize marriage registration

THE AGE IMPROVING WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND STATUS (1960~1972)

Promoting laws for equal rights of women Understanding and devising measures for women's occupational development and rural women's problems Expelling illicit fortune makers and government officials who keep concubines Patronizing home products Promoting civil laws (especially the law of succession to relatives) Operation of night schools by university students and activities for neglected social class including the poor in urban area Human Rights movement for women laborers working for Namyoung Nylon and Dongil textile manufacturing

THE AGE OF DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN'S OCCUPATIONS AND IMPROVEMENT OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS (1973~1979)

Special projects for working women Job training including papering, painting, tiling, etc. Promoting Consumer Protection Law and operation of permanent consumer complaint centers Promoting amendment of the Family Law Abolishment of marriage note of a female bank clerk Objection against the establishment of factories causing harm to the public

EXPANSION OF PROGRAMS FOR WOMEN'S EMPLOYMENT AND THE DISABLED (1980~1985)

Refusal of payment of viewers' fees to KBS(Korean Broadcasting System) Abolition of early retirement of women workers Fight against sexual abuse of female university student by police officer Promotion of the equipment of facilities and programs for the disabled Improvement of rural life and nutrition project Presenting a petition to the National Assembly to expand the operation of school lunch program Practicing reeducation program for working women Launching employment counseling centers in 23 local YWCAs

THE AGE PRACTICING DEMOCRATIZATION MOVEMENT AND RIGHT LIFE (1986~1992)

Nationwide 365-day prayer meeting for the country Campaign to stop torture of the police and violent demonstration Campaign to limit the import of tobacco and imprudent opening for imports of agricultural and domestic farming products Helping victims of atomic bomb Starting a model public child-care center for working women and training nursing women in community Practicing Right Life and ANABADA campaign Campaign for sound wedding culture Movement to eradicate human traffic

THE AGE OF MOVEMENTS FOR COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENT, ENVIRONMENT, LIFE,
AND PEACEFUL REUNIFICATION (1993~1999)

Environmental movement including Pay-by-the-Bag System, holding a shopping basket, gathering mercury batteries Peace forums for solidarity of Korean women living in East Asia (Yanbian, New York) Campaign to help North Korea including sending powdered-milk to North Korean children Collecting foreign currencies to overcome the financial crisis Helping the unemployed by 100 won per day Food bank Campaign to do away with violence against women Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on trafficking in women Peer counselling, 'Mailbox in Love' Advocacy of observing harmful environment campaigns for youth International Youth Volunteers' Workshop

SINCE 2000

National movement against the adoption of distorted Japanese history textbook and for advocatingcorrection the falsification textbook Campaign to support North Korea including sending underwear to North Korean women and children The YWCA national family newspaper contest and family camp Clean election movement for social justice and women's political participation The Korea Women's leadership Award Financial leadership education for Youth and financial leadership education for NGO's Female supervisors Promoting amendment of the Family Law Campaign to eradicate violence against women and children The YWCA good TV program Award Making the 50/50 society for Gender equality and eradication of sexual harassment Life-centered Community Movement