Seoul’s first feminist cafe and library
The library, gallery, cafe and counseling center called Doing is the realization of a decades-long dream for its founder, Ryeoil Kim. Ms. Kim, 52, was inspired by a Korean feminism wave of the 1980s and is unique in today’s community of activists, who are much younger.
In the wake of the murder in 2016, when a young woman was killed in the Seoul neighborhood of Gangnam, Ms. Kim believed that an environment was needed for women to have a chance to gather and speak safely. She opened Doing in 2017, and welcomes everyone in the community. “Once you become a feminist, everything is exhausting,” she said. “I want to make sure people can rest here.”
Events at Doing range from serious to lighthearted. The venue hosts weekly debate clubs, monthly seminars and film screenings and the occasional party.
Doing, located in Samseong-dong, is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A social club inspired by Virginia Woolf
The owner Jina Kim said she first read Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” as a student, but it resonated differently after the death in Gangnam. “When I was younger, I never truly understood what Woolf meant by a woman’s need for 500 pounds and a personal space,” she said. “Rereading the novel, I realized how necessary it is for a woman to have her own space.”
With feminist books on display, the cafe hosts several discussion groups monthly, focusing on women’s issues in Korean society. Ms. Kim describes the cafe as “a space where women can comfortably raise their voice, feel safe and eat delicious food.”
The Woolf Social Club, located in Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong, is open most days from noon to 10 p.m. It is closed Wednesdays.