Equality for South Korean Women in 2020


SEATTLE, Washington — Women in South Korea are gradually starting to change equality for themselves and their futures. Many countries around the world are starting to place a lot of importance on gender equality, and South Korea is one of those countries. Individuals are taking a stand to demand equality for South Korean women.

Younger Citizens Push for Equality for South Korean Women

Based on surveys, South Korean women believe that men in their country have more opportunities to get high-paying jobs. In 2010, 26% of women in South Korea believed that men had a better life than women. In 2019, however, that percentage went up to 47%, displaying that South Korean women are more skeptical of their equal rights than before.

There are some in South Korea who believe that men should have preferential treatment with jobs, particularly in seasons of high unemployment and job scarcity. However, 46% believe that men should not have preferential treatment. In fact, at least 56% believe that gender equality in South Korea is very important.

There is also optimism that times are changing in South Korea. Those ages 18 to 29 are more likely to disagree with those ages 50 or older about the right that men have preferential treatment of jobs over women. Equality for South Korean women starts with the current generation.

South Korean Women Hurdle Startling Pay Gap

One of the main types of inequality South Korean women face is economic disadvantages. South Korea is one of the lowest-ranked countries in terms of the gender gap, ranking near the bottom of the list. Based on economic opportunities for women in South Korea, the country ranked 124 out of a possible 149.

Women deal with questions about marital status– and more personal questions about their plans for children– simply while applying for a job. This suggests that these factors influence whether employers hire them. Moreover, according to the Glass Ceiling Index, South Korea sits at the bottom in terms of the country’s 35% pay gap between men and women. This gender inequality not only has a tremendous effect on women in all facets but it also has a dooming effect on South Korea’s economy.

The fight against South Korean women’s inequality persists as women choose not to start families, including not marrying or having children. This is going to directly affect South Korea’s economy. One solution is to integrate women into more workforces. By not solving the issues of gender inequality, poverty cannot improve.

Women are Changing South Korea Socially

A push to pursue education is changing equality for South Korean women. Now, women are graduating with more degrees than men in South Korea. Women now feel that they are too well educated to have the same status that they have held for such a long time.

The number of women actively participating in the workforce in 2019 is 52.89%. Today’s women in South Korea are also more vocal about socially conscious issues than ever before, especially the previous generations. Change is still happening too slowly for a lot of women in South Korea. However, one thing that women are proud of is the open discussion of gender inequality.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is determined to close the historic gender gap in South Korea. The Asia Foundation researched to figure out why women are not allowed the same opportunities as men. Some of the conclusions reached were discrimination, financial access and difficulty balancing work and life. The Asia Foundation is working to make sure that women’s entrepreneurial potential is completely tapped and fulfilled.

Looking To the Future

Poverty is one of the main issues that women in South Korea face because of gender inequality. South Korea ranks as one of the lowest-ranked countries in the gender gap. Women also deal with numerous types of inequality while applying for jobs. This gender inequality is also hurting South Korea’s economy and will hurt them in the future if this does not improve.

South Korean women are still struggling to end the gender gap that exists throughout their country. Women in South Korea believe that men have better opportunities for higher-paying jobs, they have better lives and they have preferential treatment to jobs. However, younger citizens in the country are more likely to disagree with older citizens about whether men should have preferential treatment to jobs over women.

Equality for South Korean women is making progress through furthering education, opting not to get married or start families and by women being vocal about the issues they face. A lot of women are happy and excited about the gender inequality conversations that are happening. The Asia Foundation dedicates itself to helping South Korean women tap their entrepreneurial potential and researches why opportunities for women are so far behind. A new season is coming, and one can look with optimism on the impact it will have on women’s equality in South Korea.

– Jamal Patterson
Photo: Unsplash


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