SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 23, 2019 – The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) announced, May 22, that Seoul won the 2019 UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) for providing free female sanitary products at public properties and facilities. This program has been implemented since 2016 to promote women’s right to health.
UNPSA was established in 2003 to promote the development and innovation of public administration. It is getting more competitive every year since more and more public organizations participate. UNPSA, co-organized by UNDESA and UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-WOMEN), selects best policies through three stages of screening.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government won the 2019 UNPSA in competition with cities in the Asia-Pacific region in the category of “promoting gender-equality public services to achieve sustainable development goals.” A total of 11 cities are awarded at the 2019 UNPSA and Seoul is the only city that won the prize in Korea.
Seoul has won the UNPSA in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015, and this fifth award will be allowed to show the excellence of the city’s women policies once again to the international community and continue its brand as a women-friendly city.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government began offering free sanitary pads in 2016 for low-income teenage girls who find it difficult to take care of themselves. From October last year, the city government has begun to provide “emergency sanitary pads” at public institutions for women who suddenly started the period or failed to carry sanitary pads. Starting from June this year, the number of organizations where emergency sanitary pads are offered will be drastically expanded from currently 11 to 160.
The 2019 United Nations Public Service Forum and Awards Ceremony will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from June 24 until June 26 under the theme “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through effective Delivery of Services, Innovative Transformation and Accountable Institutions.”
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will participate in the forum and awards ceremony to share the city’s best winning policies, while creating a manual of policies that have been verified by the UN and providing it to underdeveloped cities to make contributions to the development of the world’s cities.
In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will continue to lead women’s policies by discovering areas that are important but have not been paid attention by the public. It will also announce the introduction of Korea’s first “public announcement system for equal pay” in October 2019 in an effort to address the wage differential among genders.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will also implement education and campaigns to improve social awareness of women’s health. It will sponsor the “menstrual fair” to be held at Seoul Forest on the last weekend of May (May 25 to 26) to commemorate the upcoming the “Menstrual Hygiene Day” (May 28). During the fair, visitors will have a chance to donate sanitary pads to underprivileged women, attend the lectures related to health, and experience menstrual products by purchasing tickets for the “menstrual run” and the fair.