North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un took time on March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day with speeches and public events, handing out makeup to a crowd of pilots as gifts for their wives.
Kim did not meet with other women on March 8, but chose to hand out food and makeup to pilots. He told the men to send his congratulations to their wives. He talked about the world event, but first “hailed it as the 20th anniversary of his predecessor Kim Jong-il’s ‘scientific theory’ on the role of women in ‘pushing ahead with the revolution and construction.’” He praised his father’s “patriotism, faith, anti-imperialist class education and moral education.”
His main purpose at the site was to inaugurate a new power station. Residents in the country do not receive much power, even in Pyongyang. Satellite images often show North Korea in the dark while South Korea is lit up at night.
The state news agency KCNA reported the top officials met with “exemplary women and women officials and members of the women’s union” in Pyongyang. KCNA also claimed that under Kim’s dictatorship, North Korea “demonstrated its might as an example of progressive women’s movement of the world under the wise guidance of peerlessly great men.” The state paper claimed the country allows women to lead “hopeful lives as flowers of the nation.”
Female defectors in South Korea contest the North Korean regime’s claims on gender equality. One of the defectors said the women in the military units are forced to provide “sexual favors” and are forced into abortions if they become pregnant from the rape. Poverty in North Korea puts females at risk of being sold into slavery outside the country. Women do not receive any sexual education, which leaves them “unprepared to cope with unexpected pregnancies.”