July 10-20, 2006
Twenty participants from the KSCF (Korean Student Christian Federation) journeyed to the Philippines for this workshop that includes study sessions on Gender Analysis, Systemic Analysis of Oppression, Feminist Theologies and Hermeneutics, and an exposure trip to the former US military base in the Philippines to study on the issue of women working in the sex industry as well as women migrant workers.
The programme started with an input on Gender Analysis and Systemic Analysis of Oppression to provide a framework of gender oppression in relation to the unequal power relations between women and men in the social structures. This session also initiates the participants to understand their own gender and power positions within their own Korean society as they understand the Philippine society and the various women’s issues to be explored in this women’s programme.
The participants took the next 3 days to integrate into the marginalised communities in the Philippines. In the exposure, one group of participants went to Olongapo City where the formal US naval base is situated. They learned together with the women of BUKLOD which works with women working in the sex industry. The second group of participants went to Bagong Silang where they studied on the issue of women workers with the NGO, Samakana KMK (women workers association). Finally the two groups returned to Manila where they were hosted with another homestay by the women of BATIS-AWARE who works with women migrant workers returned from Japan who experienced various forms of abuse and oppression. BATIS-Centre of Women provides the necessary support and aid for the safe evacuation of these women migrant workers from Japan, and BATIS-AWARE provides the women alternative income-generating projects for their future livelihood.
Inputs on Feminist Theologies and Feminist Hermeneutics were put forward as a challenge to the participants to suspect the usual Christian theological and biblical teachings that are mainly led and interpreted by male theologians and church leaders who are socialised in patriarchy, androcentrism and anthropocentrism. Upon uncovering the gender biasness in Christian theological teachings and in the church, the participants were tasked to reflect on the guiding principles of Jesus and his ministry of ending oppression and marginalisation of humanity, particularly for many women who are still struggling with gender oppression.
Inspired by this programme, KSCF decides to organise annual women’s programmes as well as exchange programmes with other countries so that KSCF students could continue to learn from other communities, reflecting on the common struggles between these communities and their own Korean society while searching for ways to be in solidarity to end various forms of oppression and marginalisation.