75 years have passed since the proclamation of the Law on Sex Equality. Over the period, a dramatic change has taken place in the position of the Korean women.
The career of Kim Rak Hui, a former honorary councillor of the Cabinet of the DPRK, eloquently speaks of this fact.
A plowwoman hero
Kim Rak Hui was born as the second daughter into a poor slash-and-burn farmer in a remote mountain village in Kaechon, South Phyongan Province when Korea was under the Japanese military rule. From the first day of her birth, she was fated to suffer from the poverty-stricken circumstances of her family and the shackles of feudalism.
After President Kim Il Sung liberated Korea (August 1945) by launching the anti-Japanese armed struggle, she could lead a genuine life as a human being. In the liberated country Korean women exercised legitimate, equal rights with men and farmers became the owners of land. She learned how to read and write the Korean alphabets and did farming diligently, enjoying the pleasure of life.
When the Fatherland Liberation War (June 1950-July 1953) was at its height, a national conference of farmer activists was held in Pyongyang in January Juche 41 (1952). The 19-year-old girl took part in the conference for her meritorious services performed in the campaign to increase wartime grain production.
At that time, women had to defend the rear in place of men fighting on the front. She took the initiative in the plowwoman movement, cultivating fields by camouflaging the back of ox with green leaves even in the teeth of heavy bombings of enemy planes. Her painstaking efforts brought about unprecedented bumper crops. She contributed 29 straw bags of rice to the country, a patriotic deed winning admiration from all people.
During the break of the conference, Kim Il Sung met the girl and spoke highly of her as she demonstrated the indomitable mettle of the Korean people who were unafraid of any hardships. He said with confidence that we could surely win in the war as such brave women like her were defending the rear. That year, she boosted crop yields by forming ox-sharing and labour-aid teams and donated once again lots of grains as contributions to the front.
From October 1953, she worked as the management board chairwoman of the then Ponghwa Agricultural Cooperative in Kaechon County and overfulfilled the state plan by producing lots of grains every year.
In the spring of 1954, the year after the ceasefire, she was selected as the one and only farmer and woman delegate of a DPRK’s delegation for a foreign tour.
In April 1958, she was awarded the title of Labour Hero at the age of 25.
A model woman revolutionary
Kim Rak Hui was appointed as the chairwoman of the Jagang Provincial Rural Economy Committee in the early 1970s when socialist construction went full steam ahead in the country.
With a view to lessening the burden of the President who kept visiting farms across the country to provide people with affluent life, come rain or shine, irrespective of holidays and days off, she devoted herself to increasing agricultural production of the country.
On day in the new century, Chairman Kim Jong Il spoke highly of her good track records and said to the officials: Though she is old now, she works as an advisory chairwoman of the provincial rural economy committee, faithfully upholding the leadership of the Party with a determination to die at her post.
From May Juche 94 (2005), she started to work as the chief secretary of the South Hwanghae Provincial Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. When he was reported that she was working hard to live up to the Party’s trust, the Chairman said she remained faithful in support of the Party’s leadership as one of women officials promoted by Kim Il Sung and that she was a model woman revolutionary of our era.
She was elected a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly several times from 1957.
She was awarded Order of Kim Il Sung and Order of Kim Jong Il.
An everlasting life
Kim Rak Hui worked as a vice-premier of the Cabinet at the great age of 70. She worked hard with an awareness that she should do farming well to render services to solving the food problem for the people.
She worked devotedly to solve urgent problems for farming, sometimes taking manure in her hands to smell it and sometimes driving her car hundreds of miles overnight. Her image still remains etched in the memory of people.
The State took all measures for her to receive medical treatment in a hospital and work as an honorary councillor of the Cabinet.
One February day in Juche 102 (2013), she called her eldest daughter-in-law to wear a wrist watch bearing the august name of President Kim Il Sung, and said:
I earnestly ask you to bring up your children to be loyalists who remain firm in their support of the country like this gold wrist watch which stays unchanged in colour and keeps good time.
It was a legacy she left during her lifetime.
The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, in his opening address at the Seventh Congress of the WPK held in May Juche 105 (2016), called one by one the names of the revolutionary comrades who had passed away after rendering brilliant services to the country and the people during the period under review, and proposed to observe a minute’s silence in memory of them.
Among them was Kim Rak Hui of an ordinary peasant origin who had supported the Party with grain production throughout her life.