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Olivarria 1 Diana Olivarria GCU 114 9/10/2013 Status of Men and Women in South Korea A woman is like a tea

bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. (Eleanor Roosevelt). Since long ago and in some places today, womens roles are believed to be nothing but to raise many children and stay home and take care of the house chores while the husband provides for the family. This was no different in South Korea, for a long time and even now some South Korean women are raised to be submissive and strive to be a good daughter, wife and mother. And by doing so she is expected to sacrifice herself for the wellbeing of her family (K4E Editors). Leaving no chance what so ever for women to develop themselves professionally or become financially independent. But time goes on and changes are being made in todays South Korea, industrialization and democratization have given women more opportunities to play several diverse roles in public life. As of April 1998, 47.7 percent of all adult women worked outside the home. Women's average earnings were 63.4 percent of those of men in the same jobs. And later on in June 1999, there was one woman among the seventeen cabinet members and no woman vice minister. In 1999 women also occupied 2.3 percent of the regional and local assembly seats. Women also began to become professional leaders in religious life, although they are limited in numbers in both Christian churches and Buddhist temples. In shamanism however, women dominate with their positions as priestesses (Chunghee ).

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The map above was developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It is based on 26 indicators, including jobs and the labor market, access to finance, womens legal and social status and the general business environment (Florida). The higher the score the greater the level of economic opportunity granted to women, and as labeled South Korea falls into the category of sixty which is a pretty good place to be compared to other countries or even its other half North Korea which has no data what so ever on the matter. This map also indicates that women in well-developed countries face fewer barriers and have more opportunities self- improvement and development. As for the status between South Korean men and women, much like our constitution it declares that there is to be equality between all citizens despite gender and so on, but South Korean values

Olivarria 3 still suggest it to be influenced by an ideology of male superiority and by doing so womens advancement opportunities are limited (Chunghee ). By living by the male superiority belief there are some consequences that are faced by women. Some of the consequences caused by the inequality between men and women according to Ryu Imlyang, a research associate for Seoul National Universities Institute for Gender Research include the differences between a man and womens monthly wages. Women only earn 70.5 percent of the salary that men earn even if they are highly qualified and obtained a four year college degree (Li). Sadly according to Ryu Imlyangs research when civilians were asked what do you think about women in the workforce? most people replied that they preferred for the women to concentrate in their marriage and child upbringing. Although there seem to be many challenges and tasks women must accomplish, men also have their fair share of duties and responsibilities. When a South Korean man is between 20 to 30 years of age he becomes eligible for compulsory military service, with middle school education required. The two years that they spend in the military include 21 months in (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy) and 24 months (Air Force) (Central Intelligence Agency). There is also the fact that because they are men they are expected to be the head of the family and make all the decisions concerning the wellbeing of their family including their parents. Speaking of family and going back to women and their role in society, when asked who do you think should be in charge of the housework? a vast number of both men and women believed that the wife should be in complete charge of the household while the husband should only help once in a while. It is beliefs like these that keep and will continue to keep limiting women advancement in the workforce (Li). Another factor that limits womens potential is age, according to Ryu Imlyangs research in 1985 there was a drop of women working who were 25

Olivarria 4 to 29 years old, but later on in 2008 women who were 30 to 34 years old would leave, this means that thanks to the advancement women have done. Many women chose to have children until their 30s as opposed to a couple of years before. But the issue here is that when women return to work three or four years later, it is much harder to get employed and many are forced to get low paying part time jobs (Li). Also according to the information from, women in East Asia in general have a higher unemployment rate than men, almost twice the global average (Asia and the Pacific | UN Women Headquarters). Overall, although South Korea has immensely advanced in terms of womens opportunities in the workforce, it still has a long way to go in order to achieve true gender equality and hopefully in the future we will be able to witness this change and maybe even see more countries advance and allow their women to grow and contribute to the countries wellbeing.

Olivarria 5 Referencess Asia and the Pacific | UN Women - Headquarters. (n.d.). Asia and the Pacific | UN Women Headquarters. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from Chunghee , S. S. (n.d.). Retrieved from Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). The World Factbook. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from Florida, R. (n.d.). Retrieved from K4E Editors. (n.d.). Retrieved from Li, A. The changing status & gender role of women in contemporary south korea [Web log message]. Retrieved from