REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, YOGYAKARTA -- International Council of Women (ICW) President Kim Jung Sook expressed belief that women can change society and also the world as. Sook optimism grew as women's empowerment in all fields has been increasing.
"I believe that women can change the world if they make every effort together. Changing the world and society can begin by transforming women through empowerment," Sook noted at the 35th General Assembly of ICW and the National Meeting of 1,000 Indonesian Women's Organizations here, Thursday.
According to Sook, in the past three years, the ICW has been working hard to implement the big theme to change society by empowering women set out at the 34th General Session of ICW in Turkey. She added that the ability of women to change the world was strongly influenced by the basic characteristics of women, who are compassionate but also simultaneously have a strong leadership spirit.
"Now is the right time to realize this. Women's empowerment can be initiated in the social, cultural, and educational fields," she remarked, adding that women were also seeking equality in terms of numbers and strengths in all fields, including economics and politics.
"Currently, only 17 countries are led by women and merely a few women can hold important positions in large companies and industries," she noted.
Sook said, in the Middle East, the number of women holding strategic positions in industry and large companies reaches some 3.9 percent; Latin America, around 6.4 percent; Asia Pacific, around nine percent; and quite large numbers of around 20 percent and 19 percent are found in Europe and the United States respectively.
"In my own country, Korea, the number of women in strategic positions in new companies and industries is around two percent. It contrasts with conditions in other countries," Sook pointed out.
In addition to playing a role in large industries, women also have a task to increase the family's gross domestic income. "The income of a family will increase if women also participate," she noted.
However, she stated that several problems, including domestic and sexual violence as well as human trafficking, were also faced by women. "These problems are commonly found in various countries," she noted.
Hence, Sook has expressed hope that the 35th ICW General Session would also discuss obstacles to be overcome and strategies to be adopted to tackle those problems.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Indonesian Women's Congress (Kowani) Giwo Rubianto Wiyogo remarked that the meeting of 1,000 women's organizations will discuss women's empowerment issues. "We feel very proud, as the gathering of 1,000 leaders from the new women's organization can be realized for the first time," she stated.
"If you educate a man, you educate a person. However, if you educate a woman, you educate a nation," Wiyogo said while quoting Kofi Annan's statement on the important role of women.