Life Devoted for Cause of Women’s Emancipation
Eighty-five years have passed since Kang Pan Sok, mother of President Kim Il Sung and an outstanding leader of the women’s movement in Korea, passed away.
On the occasion of this day, the Korean people look back with deep emotion upon her brilliant life.
From her early years she grew up experiencing the sorrow of the Korean people who were deprived of their country by the Japanese imperialists as well as all sorts of hardships of life, so she had strong spirit of insubordination to outdated feudal conventions of treating women as inferior to men and the exploiter society. She was convinced that arousing the broad sections of women, who accounted for half of the population, to the anti-Japanese struggle and freeing them from all forms of social inequality and subordination was an important requirement for realizing the cause of national liberation. Under the active guidance and assistance of Kim Il Sung she formed the Anti-Japanese Women’s Association, the first women’s revolutionary mass organization in Korea, in Fusong, China, on December 26, Juche 15 (1926).
The association set it as its fighting goal to build socialism and communism in Korea and, for the present, to overthrow Japanese imperialism and achieve Korea’s liberation and social emancipation of women.
Its formation constituted a historic event which ushered in the start of the women’s movement in Korea.
In accordance with the unanimous will of its members, she was elected first chairwoman of the association. She educated the broad sections of women in a revolutionary way and awakened them to class consciousness so as to rally them behind the association.
She ensured that night schools were set up to teach them the Korean alphabets and revolutionary songs, explaining to them that they could win back the country and retake their freedom and rights only by defeating the Japanese imperialists.
As a result, the Korean women who had been subjected to oppression and maltreatment for many years, regarding it as their fate, were gradually brought to revolutionary awareness. Bearing in mind the truth of struggle that they can defeat any enemy when they fight in close unity, even though an individual has not enough strength, they were enrolled in the association and turned out in the struggle for national liberation and women’s social emancipation.
In the days when Kim Il Sung was making preparations for an armed struggle against the Japanese imperialists she led the members of the association to make uniforms and provisions to be supplied to the soldiers of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army, the first revolutionary armed force of the Korean people.
Thanks to her devoted activities, the association was expanded to Kalun, Guyushu, Wujiaji and other areas in northeastern region of China and the areas around the guerrilla bases along the Tuman River of Korea, with Fusong as its centre, and waged active struggles against the Japanese imperialists on the basis of a well-knit organizational structure. Despite the enemy’s surveillance and suppression, the members of the association positively conducted the scouting of the enemy’s movements, carried out liaison tasks and rendered assistance to the guerrilla army. A large number of women grew up to be ardent patriots and revolutionaries, turning out in the sacred struggle for national liberation with arms in hand.
Kang Pan Sok, who was giving energetic guidance to the work of the association with an indomitable spirit in spite of her severe illness, passed away in July Juche 21 (1932).
True to his mother’s will, Kim Il Sung proclaimed the Law on Sex Equality on July 30, 1946 after Korea’s liberation (August 1945) in order to bring about the social emancipation of women and provide them with equal rights with men. He also took every possible measure to free them from the heavy burdens of household chores.
The women’s movement in Korea was brilliantly carried forward by Chairman Kim Jong Il who regarded women as a powerful force that turns one of the two wheels of the revolution and bestowed great trust in and paternal affection for them.
Today it is developing onto a new, higher stage under the guidance of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
The immortal exploits of Kang Pan Sok who devoted herself to accomplishing the cause of women’s emancipation will remain etched for all ages in the minds of the Korean people.