SEOUL, Nov. 06 (Yonhap) — Mona Chollet, journalist at Le Monde diplomatique, essayist and committed feminist, came to South Korea to give lectures and signing sessions from November 2 to 6. She told Yonhap that women are still more “disadvantaged” than men and there is still a lot to do.
In an interview given the day after her arrival, the author of “Witches: The undefeated power of women” (2018, Editions La Découverte) answered a question about the current situation in French society with regard to subjects feminists: “There was a television presenter, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor from TF1, who was accused by a dozen women. […] There were accusations of incest against Olivier Duhamel.
She went on to say that “every time there are accusations against powerful men who have been protected for a long time, it brings up the question of the heart of cultural and French power. These are the most significant cases”, adding that “everyone wants to live with the idea that they live in a relatively peaceful society where people are safe but realize that this is not the case. The threat does not come from a stranger, it comes from the most prestigious, the closest people”.
“We are not at all equipped to face this problem, that is to say the police are very poorly trained to receive the victims, the justice system is very reactionary, often very conservative and there are very few convictions. We already know that there are few complaints,” said Chollet.
As for the feminist landscape in South Korea, particularly on the debate related to military service which has created a serious and heated social clash between the camp of young female activists and the group of young men in their twenties who have become politically conservative and have supported the election of current President Yoon Suk-yeol, the French writer noted that “women are so much more disadvantaged on so many levels than men, and military service would be the only thing women can put in before to say that men are also badly treated”.
“It’s not good at this age to be in all-male places, all-male sociability, because it also creates a culture that denigrates women, that doesn’t prepare young men to live well with women” , explained Chollet, adding: “It encourages precisely this kind of male solidarity which is done against women.”
Referring to the recent vote in Switzerland to raise the retirement age for women to the same age as men in the name of gender equality, Chollet said that “it’s as if you were deciding that women should do military service. It doesn’t suit anyone. It is an institution that seems a little obsolete”. She showed one of the proofs of inequality in France, “women earn 22% less than men in France, according to statistics compiled in 2019.”
Regarding her various professions between journalism and writing, she indicated that she will end her career as a journalist at Le Monde diplomatique soon: “I could no longer do everything. I had to do two or three full-time jobs for a few years, it was exhausting, I had to stop one of them and I wanted to keep doing my book so I stopped the newspaper .”
She still said the two professions “complemented each other well”, “and then, there was a moment when I was no longer in the news, a moment when I was no longer in my subjects and I no longer took perspective in my subjects, so both were interesting.” His visit to South Korea is the first. His interventions on two university campuses and his three meetings and dedications saw the presence of many passionate readers with a studious atmosphere. In Korea, two of her books have been translated: “Witches: The Undefeated Power of Women” (2021) and “At Home: An Odyssey of Domestic Space” (2018) by two different local publishing houses.
Interview by Oh Jeong-hun