The History behind Women Making Peace
1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese colonization and divided into the two countries of South and North Korea.
1950 The Korean war broke out which resulted in 6 million injuries and deaths, 3 million refugees and 10 million divided family members.
1953 Armistice was declared, prolonging the division of Korea. An arms race ensued; the mistrust, slander and hostility of both sides increased; and exchanges of people, letters and other forms of communication were cut off.
1991 In May, South and North Korean women met in Tokyo and held a conference on "Peace in Asia and Women's Role". It was the first meeting between the women of South and North Korea on the civilian level since the division of Korea.
In November, the 2nd conference was held in Seoul, Korea. 15 North Korean women leaders set foot on south Korean soil for the first time since the division.
1992 In September, the 3rd conference was held in Pyongyang, North Korea. 30 women leaders from South Korea visited Pyongyang for the first time since the division. At this time, executive committees for the organizing and continuing of the "Peace in Asia and Women's Role" conferences were formed in South Korea, North Korea and Japan.
1993 The 4th conference was held in April in Tokyo.
1994 The 5th conference was scheduled to be held in Seoul but this was not possible due to political disagreements between the South and North Korean governments.
1996 The Korean executive committee for the "Peace in Asia and Women's role" conference gave up hope for the continuation of the conferences and began to discuss alternatives. Finally it decided to create a specialized women's peace movement organization which will maintain the aspirations and activities of the conference and develop them toward reunification and in the 21st century.
Establishment of Women Making Peace
1997 In March, "Women Making Peace" was created, with a membership of around 300 women. Upon inauguration, it initiated a campaign of "sharing food, sharing love" with North Korean women and children who are suffering from severe starvation. It also issued a statement requesting the South Korean government to immediately and unconditionally supply grain to North Korea. It further requests the North Korean government to openly admit the reality of starvation, and requests both governments to open the border at Panmunjom and allow grain and other humanitarian aid to flow through this direct route instead of using roundabout ways which are costly and time-consuming.