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3rd International Women’s Day Global Forum with Ambassadors from European Countries

  • Views 93
  • Writer 커뮤니케이션팀
  • 보도일자 2024-03-14

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Sookmyung proudly welcomed esteemed diplomats from across the globe to participate in a global forum aimed at fostering greater gender equality.


The 3rd annual International Women’s Day Forum was held on Wed, Mar. 13, at Snow Flower Square Hall at Sookmyung Women’s University in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.



Since 2022, Sookmyung has been hosting forums dedicated to fostering constructive dialogue on the status of gender equality in various countries, examining policies, and exploring actionable strategies. This year, our focus was centered on the UN campaign “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”


The forum was led by Jeong Ui-hye, who previously served as the ASEAN Bureau Chief at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea. Panelists included Maria Castillo-Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union; Ivan Jančárek, Ambassador of the Czech Republic; Pekka Metso, Ambassador of Finland; Michelle Winthrop, Ambassador of Ireland; and Chang Yun-keum, President of Sookmyung Women’s University. Over 200 of our students of various nationalities also attended the event.


During the discussion, the ambassadors engaged in an in-depth conversation about the roles of governments and universities in promoting women’s education and overcoming gender discrimination. Further, in consideration of the era of AI, the panelists discussed approaches to encourage greater involvement of women in STEM fields, highlighting the importance of fostering gender equality in these fields. STEM, standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has been known to have comparatively low rates of female participation.


H.E. Pekka Metso, Ambassador of Finland 

During his remarks, Ambassador Metso emphasized, “It’s important that we promote the participation of minority groups, including women, to ensure the development of ethical and inclusive AI.” He further highlighted that, “reducing structural gender discrimination is crucial in encouraging women who may be less inclined to engage in society,” suggesting the “use of inclusive and gender-neutral language” as one strategy to achieve this goal. 


H.E. Michelle Winthrop, Ambassador of Ireland 

Ambassador Winthrop acknowledged that, “Despite the active participation of Korean women in STEM fields, misogyny still persists in certain segments of society.” She emphasized the importance of “bolstering female representation in academic circles” to tackle this deep-rooted structural issue. 


H.E. Ivan Jančárek, Ambassador of the Czech Republic 

Ambassador Jančárek said, “We can build a better society through collective thinking, where women and men work together.” He added, “It is imperative to promote a harmonious balance between professional and personal life, while also expanding opportunities for women across diverse fields.”


H.E. Maria Castillo-Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union

“To ensure women’s presence in key sectors, the EU has implemented a quota system mandating that at least 33% of key policy-making roles are held by women by 2026,” explained EU Ambassador Maria Castillo-Fernandez. She also emphasized the EU’s commitment to gender equality by requiring research proposals to include plans for achieving gender balance among researchers.


Dr. Chang Yun-keum, President of Sookmyung Women’s University

During the event, President Chang introduced several programs at Sookmyung Women’s University designed to enhance competitiveness in STEM fields, including collaborating on the “AI Startup School” with the Seoul government and Google, as well as mandating that all students complete three software-related courses as part of their graduation requirements.


“Statistics show a clear underrepresentation of women in engineering, science, and ICT fields, a trend that worsens at more senior positions,” she noted, adding, “Universities must step up their efforts in advancing women’s education and leading the charge for gender equality.”