In October 2008, Asian Women, the English Journal published by The Research Institute of Asian Women (RIAW), was selected for coverage in the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). The Journals registered at SSCI are recognized by international authorities in their fields of expertise. (For more detail, please refer to the last article, 'RAIW is Registered at SSCI' at http://smtimes.sookmyung.ac.kr/.) It is an example of the results that Affiliated Research Institutes related to ‘Women’ achieve in SMU.
In SMU, there are a total of 17 Affiliated Research Institutes and three among them are related to Women. Actually, three of them also have sub-centers under them, so the number of Research Institutes for Women exceeds three. These Research Institutes are well known outside of SMU, some of them world-wide, but Sookmyungians don’t know of the existence of these Research Institutes and what they do to focus on women. For that reason, the Sookmyung Times is going to introduce the three largest Research Institutes for Women in SMU.
Research Center for Women Diseases (RCWD)
These days many women in Korea suffer from disease, which has negative consequences for society, economy and government. There are many research groups which work to treat cancer, diabetes, brain disease, and heart blood vessel disease, but there are none which understand women or do research into specific women’s diseases such as uterine cancer, breast cancer, myoma of the uterus, external genital pruritus, and irregular menstruation. That’s why SMU founded the RCWD in November 2005. However, it is difficult to do research on a variety of diseases with only a few researchers so RCWD now focuses on cancer in women.
Cancer in women is frequently generated by change of life environment, increase of stress, and eating habits. It threatens women’s lives, so doing research on it is necessary as a primary aim. The RCWD digs up an origin factor and examines its function to find out how to prepare for cancer, how to make early diagnosis possible, and the most effective regulation of cancer. (http://rcwd.sookmyung.ac.kr/)
Asia Pacific Women’s Information Network Center (APWINC)
SMU established the APWINC in November 1996 to work for gender equality and empowerment for women through the development of women’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Asia and Pacific region. APWINC works worldwide and is associated with the Korean government, enterprises, international organizations, and international NGOs. Related to Gender & ICT and Culture & Content, they conduct workshops, seminars, conferences, education and training, and do a lot of research. Through those efforts, APWINC plays a pioneer role in women’s growth. Also, on March 2009, APWINC became part of the UN Global Compact and now is joined in global issues: Human rights, Work, Environment, and Corruption. (http://www.women.or.kr)
The Research Institute of Asian Women (RIAW)
RIAW was established as the first of its kind in Korea by SMU in September 1960. For almost a half century, RIAW has explored and identified the issues of women's conditions. It has tried to develop women’s status in Korea and Asia, to produce women leaders in the future, to encourage women’s achievement in legal, political, economic, educational and cultural spheres, to do comparative studies of women’s issues between East Asia and Western countries, and to promote women’s policy through the study of changes in women’s roles and status in the 21st century.
The RIAW has made various efforts to play a leading role in many women's organizations and research centers by supporting programs for outstanding research and field surveys, as well as conferences, workshops, and seminars on women's issues. Recently, RIAW has expanded its domain of research and activities from Asia to other continents to promote the understanding of diverse cultures and societies. It is supervising the FemMed/WomMed (femmeset media-women and the media) Network, which is one of the UNESCO tasks, in the Asia-Pacific region. It has also been conducting the Chair Program of UNESCO since the decision of the 29th UN General Assembly in 1997. One of the current major concerns of RIAW is to promote exchange programs with North Korea in preparation for the unification of Korea. (http://asianfem.sookmyung.ac.kr/)
Haley Hyun, a researcher of APWINC said, “We need Research Institutes for ‘Women’ because ‘Women’ is one of the keywords which is necessary for development of country in the 21st century. Also, effort to get improvement of women’s social role and status is achieved in world-wide.” In SMU, existence of Research Institutes for ‘Women’ is inevitable because it is Women’s University. Through these Institutes, more women are expected to benefit from their works.