Monday, February 8, 2010

What is Happening to Patriarchy in Korea?

A women's place in a patriarchal society is the home and under the male: the dominance of male over the female in social and cultural systems. Thanks to the legacy of Confucianism, Korea is still considered a patriarchal society. But we do have big changes: Women Generals in the military. In the recent issue of the Catholic papers there is an interview with the fifth woman who was promoted to General and a Catholic:

What is your feelings in being the first Catholic to be promoted to General?

The first General was promoted in 2001 and I am the fifth. I feel inadequate and am concerned on how I can be of help to the military.

What was your motivation in entering the military?

My father was a marine and his principles of education, and the way he saw the country had a great influence on me. I was exposed to nursing in high school and made my choice for the military academy. The nursing school of the military academy is forming capable officers who will service the country and the military. The present ratio of competition is 30 to one.
We plan to expand our international exchange by forming leaders with capabilities that will be recognized internationally and leaders with human qualities.

You have been in military life for 31 years do you have any words of advice for the nursing officers?

The reason for the military is to protect the country and prevent wars. The way we see the country and the military has to be clear: in emergencies the country has to precede our own needs. The work of nursing officers are to see that the soldiers have the greatest capabilities in health of mind and body and to minimize the obstacles in their fighting capabilities to defend the country.

I have had many difficulties but not once have I ever regretted joining the military.

What is your opinion of women's place in the military?

The place of the woman is not as replacement for men, but the need for women's delicateness and faithfulness, meticulous sensitivity and openness in doing their work, enabling synergy to develop. Nowadays women soldiers are the equals of the men in body strength and spirit. Women are promoting the spirit and battle capabilities of the military; the need for women will be greater with technological advances and specialization.

How do you maintain your spiritual life?

I was born into a Catholic family and received baptism as a baby. Much is lacking in my faith life but God forgives and I thank God for the happiness I have found in life.

I especially found a great deal of satisfaction working in the field hospitals taking care of the sick and working where there were no priests or sisters and being called sister and mother. During that time I was able to distribute rice rolled in dried laver and rice cakes to those in the hospital. I was able to do something without bringing any attention to myself and considered it precious time.

These days I am going to a mission station with my two daughters and husband, who is a Navy Colonel . I hope in the future I will be able to return to others some of the glory and blessings I have received in a renewed life of faith.