Dr. Pilwha Chang: AAWS First President
Dr. Pilwha Chang has been a Professor of the Department of Women’s Studies at the Graduate School of Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea since 1984. She earned her PhD in Women in Development from the University of Sussex, and MA in Adult Education from the University of Hull, United Kingdom. She was the first Director of the Asian Centre for Women’s Studies (ACWS) founded in 1995 and has served three terms as Director until 2016. She was also the Director of Korean Women’s Institute in 1999, Dean of Graduate School in 2002 and the Director of Ewha Institute for Leadership Development in 2011 at Ewha. She served as the first Chairperson of the Advisory Group on Gender Integration (AGGI) of APEC in 1999 and the President of Korean Association of Women’s Studies in 2000. But it is her research in particular, that has greatly influenced the development of women and gender studies not just in Korea but in Asia. She has written several books and published countless articles on gender division of labor, women’s experiences and feminist practices, feminist pedagogy and women’s studies.
Under her leadership, the ACWS in partnership with Korean Women’s Institute started the first Building Women’s Studies in Asia Workshop in March 26-29, 1998. Attended by eight Asian countries in the East, Southeast and South Asia, the workshop provided a forum to address the growing need for Inter-Asian dialogue and action in support of Asian women. In 2005, Korea became the first Asian country to host the 9th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women with Chang as convenor. This set the ground running for the Women’s Studies movement in Asia.
In November 15, 2007, a promotional committee was constituted by feminist scholars from different regions of Asia. At their inaugural meeting, Dr. Chang was elected as the first president of the Asian Association Women’s Studies with Prof. Suwanna Satha-Anand of Chulaongkorn University, Thailand as Vice-President. There were 12 Council Members, which included feminist scholars from different regions of Asia (China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam).
AAWS stands strong today as a forum for discussion and co-operation on new ideas in feminist education and research with a focus on Asia and to promote the dissemination of information on relevant community programs with the continuous support of Dr. Chang as council member. The AAWS seeks to establish an institutional basis for feminist education and research on Asia, linking associations of women’s studies, research institutions, resource centers, as well as individual scholars and practitioners in the region, with the intent of addressing issues of common interest in Asia. The organization holds the AAWS Congress every three years as its flagship international conference for networking and providing professional development opportunities to women’s and gender studies scholars and women’s center administrators. This year, the 4th AAWS Congress will be hosted by Thang Long University in Hanoi, Vietnam on December 1-3, 2016. For more details, please visit the congress website at: http://congress2016.aaws2013.org/