Last autumn at Sookmyung, a professor was let go for sexual discrimination. In response, students erected handwritten posters calling for women’s studies to be made a mandatory subject. While a number of Sookmyungians agreed with the proposal, others did not. To discuss the issue, SMT asked two students to share their opinion. The opinions of the students do not reflect those of SMT or its reporters.
Women’s Studies Should Be Mandatory
Department of French Language & Culture ’16
There have been numerous arguments for the reinstatement of women’s studies for students lately, and it is my opinion that it should be made a compulsory subject because we study at a women’s university. Some people argue that as women’s rights improve, reverse discrimination against men rises. This idea is absurd. Students need to be aware of the current problem such as sexism and glass ceiling Since 1980 or even before, women started to demand their rights, but under severe social and economic conditions and a patriarchal social system, no one listened to their voices. These days, society has changed and the economic condition has stabilized to some extent. However, according to a survey I read, 86% of respondents said, “I’ve encountered sexual discrimination at work.” The glass ceiling index rating in Korea is the lowest of all OECD countries. Therefore, women’s universities should educate young ladies on maintaining women’s rights and how to work to improve them. Also, students will learn how to protect their own rights. As a result, society will naturally drop remnants of the past that hinder the rights of women. At present, Sookmyung Women's University offers women’s studies only as an elective course. However, this is not effective or appropriate. Elective courses are optional, and as such only students with predisposed interest in the subject matter will register for the course. For a more effective, productive and fair society, I agree that Sookmyung Women’s University should made women’s studies mandatory for all students.
Division of Business Administraion ’16
The university doesn’t need to mandate that students enroll in the course Women’s Studies. First, women’s rights have improved over the years, and most of the content presented in that course is not relevant to present day life. In terms of competitiveness, knowledge of all human rights supersedes concentration solely on women's studies and feminism, which may not aid in building up your portfolio for your resume. Besides, those courses typically center on theories, which are numerous and difficult to memorize. Students taking a course that tests memorized material quickly forget that material once a test is over. A number of universities have abolished women’s studies due to its unpopularity. Today students are more concerned with courses that help them obtain their ultimate goal, getting a job. They are more concerned with market competitiveness so most humanities subjects are being overlooked for the sake of employment. Also, nowadays, there are so many requisite courses students must complete before graduating that having to take an addition course would be burdensome. Students have no choice when it comes to requisite courses, so they should be able to choose freely elective courses since there is only a limited number available each semester. For these reasons, I oppose making women’s studies part of students’ graduation requirement.