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2017-11-30 16:49
Defense Minister Song Young-moo made a highly inappropriate remark about women during a recent visit to the Joint Security Area at the truce village of Panmunjeom in the Demilitarized Zone, Monday.

The visit came two weeks after a North Korean soldier ran across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) to defect to South Korea. Song was briefed about the investigation of the incident by the United Nations Command (UNC) and had lunch with Korean and U.S. troops.

The problematic remark was made during the lunch when he said “the shorter conversations are before eating, and miniskirts, the better.” This has triggered huge controversy on the internet. “Song Young-moo miniskirt” emerged as a hot search topic on Naver.

Even though the defense ministry later explained that Song only meant that he would deliver a short speech since he had arrived late, the remark shows that he subconsciously thinks it is okay to deride women. An association of 28 women’s organizations issued a statement Wednesday, denouncing his “disregard for women’s dignity.” Given that he is a retired Navy admiral, such a derogatory remark gives another black eye to the military that has been notorious for neglecting harassment of women. In May, a female Navy lieutenant committed suicide after she was reportedly raped by a superior. It’s one of many incidents involving females in the military.

This kind of vulgar perception of women often leads to sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace.

Song’s remark came only a week after President Moon Jae-in expressed his utmost resolve to get rid of workplacesexual harassment. A person like Song is not fitted to serve in an administration that has placed a high priority on promoting gender equality.

The renowned news anchor Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” was abruptly fired by the network Wednesday after accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. This is the kind of stern action that many Korean companies and government agencies need to take against sexual offenders.


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