Policy Directions and Challenges on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Korean Women
Type Basic Period 2020
Manager Dong-Sik Kim Date 2020-03-03
Fiie 7. Policy Directions and Challenges on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Korean Women.pdf ( 705.34 KB )



Policy Directions and Challenges on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Korean Women


Dong-Sik Kim

Hyo Jean Song

Cheyon Tong

In-Seon Lee


The purpose of this study is to find policy directions and related challenges to guarantee women's sexual and reproductive health and rights (hereafter’ SRHR) in Korea. In this study, we conducted research in three areas. First, we looked at the point of view about the SRHR of the international society including the United Nations, and tried to get some implications. Second, we examined discrimination, inequality, and human rights violation factors of women in terms of legal laws and systems, only for major issues related to SRHR (i.e., menstruation, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, abortion and infertility). And through the related domestic law and systems of some developed countries, we have derived what we suggest. The third is to investigate the general public's perceptions and experiences of SRHR, and to identify the present conditions. Based on the results of the above study, the following policy directions and tasks were suggested.


First, the paradigm shift from maternal health to SRHR. In order to do this, we must first guarantee SRHR as human rights. And it should be transformed into SRHR policy based on women’s autonomy, not the nationalistic population policy so far. In addition, SRHR policies should be broadly based on the diverse population groups of the whole lifetime, not from the normal family. Lastly, males’ participation is essential for promoting females’ SRHR, and therefore their participation should be promoted.


Second, the laws and systems related to SRHR should be improved. First of all, it is necessary to actively review whether the entire laws and systems do not infringe women's health and rights. In particular, current abortion laws should be abolished in order to guarantee women's self-determination, and right to health and life, and of happiness. In addition, the current Maternal and Child Health Law should be completely revised to ensure the SRHR. Be accompanied with the above improvement, SRHR Act (or Women's Health Promotion Act) should be firstly enacted. Next, a national SRHR (or Women’s health promotion) plan should be developed. Furthermore, a comprehensive anti-discrimination law must be enacted, including the SRHR. And other laws and regulations that violate women’s health and rights through in-depth review should be actively improved. Finally, it should build a cooperation system between ministries for promotion of SRHR, and also play a role as a communicator with the public.


Third, education and information on SRHR should be provided. For this, it is necessary to create a sexual culture environment that is mutually agreed and respectful in gender-equal relations, away from the traditional gender beliefs. In addition, the right to know should be guaranteed based on evidence to strengthen women's SRHR. Particularly, compulsory sex education of the whole life based on the viewpoint of gender equality is indispensable. At this time, the gender education about body integration, sexual diversity, and SRH for the vulnerable population, and, as a matter of 'human rights', educating and accessing to contraceptive practice should be carried out. Furthermore, It is needed to strengthen the public campaign to improve awareness of SRH and to eliminate social barriers.


Fourth, the quality of health care resources and access rights should be strengthened to guarantee the SRHR. In this regard, it is very important to provide medical services for women’s safe. And, It is necessary to expand the quality healthcare resources and improve the delivery system for the improvement of SRH. Respect for women's rights to childbirth and quality maternal health services should also be strengthened.


Finally, it is necessary to pursue mid- to long-term research related to SRHR and produce statistics. In this regard, first, we should promote research on medical and social integration related to SRHR at the national level. And comprehensive statistical indicator production and integrated information channels on SRHR should be established. Meanwhile, adding the field of SRH to the national health promotion plan, developing a practical indicator for SRH of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and conducting longitudinal studies on the effects of SRH during the entire period of reproductive life on later health should be needed in the future.


Key words: Sexual Right, Sexual Health, Reproductive Right, Reproductive Health, Gender