I visited Korea April 11- 16 and spent the week discussing why children must be central to all marriage and family considerations. Now the country with the lowest fertility rate in the world, and under growing international pressure to redefine the traditional Korean family, marriage formation and family structure is a major concern for Korean citizens and politicians alike.
Korea was the first country to translate and distribute the Them Before Us book. (Click here for Korean edition.) Ahead of our visit, they made an abbreviated booklet called Voice of Children highlighting key issues, studies, and stories.
This trip would not have been possible without the help of our Korean translator, and children rights champion, Sunhee Ha.
On April 13, I participated in a seminar at the National Assembly. I covered the importance of Korea living up to their obligation to protect children’s rights to “both parents” as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, summarized data on child well-being with regard to family structure, and highlighted how every form of modern family violates those rights. I also participated in a panel discussion with other marriage scholars.
On April 14, I joined a forum hosted by a member of the Seoul Metropolitan Council, which included several Korean scholars and researchers. I discussed the importance of biology and gender in the parent/child relationships and why marriage is a matter of justice for children. Then I detailed the ways that the natural family was being undermined by changes in culture, law and technology and why children are the ultimate victims.
I also had the opportunity to speak at several large Churches
We also signed a memorandum of understanding with our host organization, New Wave of Woman
Write up on our participation at the National Assembly: ‘Diverse families, are the children really okay?’ International seminar with experts on child rights, Kookminilbo News
Article on our participation at the Seoul Metropolitan Council. American child rights expert’s advice “Sauri-style single-motherhood” creates child identity crisis
Katy also did an interview for the Korean magazine Sisa Journal, here:
“Children have natural rights to their biological father and mother. It refers to the right to be raised by biological fathers and mothers. It is very important that these rights are respected if children are to thrive as adults. When rights are ignored, children are treated like commodities. It becomes something of a possession that can be cut and pasted to fit any type of adult romantic relationship. Therefore, it is essential for adults to plan their lives around children’s rights. Unfortunately, a growing number of adults in the United States are putting their own needs ahead of the rights of children.”
“Love is not enough to make a family” Korean Interview가족이_되는_것은_아닙니다_월드뷰23년 04 Worldview Magazine
And a spot on Korean TV channel CGN:
Korea is facing distinct challenges- namely, low birth rates and falling marriage rates. But they are not as far down the path of family redefinition as other developed nations. A child-centric perspective on marriage and family is the solution to both their population concerns and their efforts to uphold the traditional Korean family. We look forward to continued work with our Korean allies to ensure that Korean children can thrive.