This study examines the intellectuals’ discourse on women and their image of women in respect of nation and nation-state building from late 19th to early 20th century. The intellectuals, who followed such early reformers as Yu Kil-chun who had carried out Enlightenment Movement since “opening of port,” aimed to form modern nation-state like Western powers and accepted the modern discourse and a new concept of women. They realized that husband and wife-centered family was the base for the modern nation-state in the West. They noted the importance of the woman’s role as a mother and wife and were interested in her status, role and rights. Women were positioned lower than men and their roles were regarded as less important than those of men in the premodern society. It was in educational opportunity that gender inequality and discrimination were the most blatant. Unlike men, women were not given the formal educational opportunity, especially public education. Uneducated women could not take part in the public sphere. Women’s roles were limited to those as a mother and wife and even the roles were subordinated to those of male family members like their husband and son. In an effort to recreate the subjects of dynasty into ‘nation’ and draw their capability for building modern nation-state up, the intellectuals started to get interested in issues on women, who consisted of the half population of Korean people. They thought that women’s humble social position and few rights resulted from a lack of education, therefore insisting educating women. The efforts to improve the ‘human right’ of women were made by new legislation during Kabo reform period. The legislation included the prohibition of early marriage, the permission of remarriage, and the establishment of women’s school. The intellectuals insisted on the necessity of women’s education in terms of ‘national education’ for ‘nation-building’ with the following two logics: First, women as a mother need to be well-educated because they take responsibility for raising their children into desirable ‘nation.’ Second, women’s education is indispensable for making women into state members like men. The two logic was overlapped, but the intellectuals put more weight on the first than on the second. However, there was no difference in that both logic was focused on national interests rather than on women’s individual interests or happiness. The intellectuals intended to form the ‘nation’ and enlighten women regarding their rights and duties. When it comes to showing patriotism and carrying out national duties, women were not differentiated from men. Nevertheless, the way they carry out of their duties was different from the way men do. The necessity of women’s education was closely interwoven with women’s duties and responsibilities as ‘nation.’ Women were expected to take important duties and responsibilities for their nation as well as for their family. The duties and responsibilities included raising their children into the future important ‘nation’ and supporting their husbands who worked for society and country. Like this, women’s duties and responsibilities were still defined as certain roles at home. However, women’s demands for direct participation in the affairs of society and state gradually appeared. Women’s rights were still restrictive while their duties and responsibilities extended from private sphere to public sphere. Women’s human rights, based on natural rights, were discussed in several ways, but the discussion about women’s participation in politics as ‘nation’ and female suffrage could hardly be found. In contrast, the topic of women’s participation in politics was discussed in Japan and China in the same period and a movement for female suffrage was developed in there although it ended up in vain as in Western countries at that time.
2. 근대적 여성론의 형성
3. ‘국민’으로서 여성론