The Economistreported that South Korean women earn 38 percent less than their male counterparts, the largest gender pay gap of any Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member country. Another common theory for the anti-feminist backlash points to Moon’s failure to curb youth unemployment and runaway housing prices, along with the rise in inequality. South Korea, which technically remains at war with neighboring North Korea, requires all able-bodied men ages 18 to 28 to serve at least 18 months in the military, causing delays in their education and early career that are perceived as giving women an advantage. “They believe they are being discriminated against,” Cheon Gwan-yul, the journalist who led the survey, said at the time. Like opponents of feminism in other parts of the world, respondents argued that the movement promotes female supremacy and misandry.

The share of women in the National Assembly has increased in the last decade but is still low compared to other countries. On the surface, Korean women often appear docile, submissive, and deferential to the wishes of their husbands and in-laws. Yet behind the scenes, there is often considerable «hidden» female power, particularly within the private sphere of the household. In areas such as household finances, South Korean husbands usually defer to their wives’ judgment. Public assertion of a woman’s power, however, is socially disapproved, and a traditional wife maintained the image, if not the reality of submissiveness.

All Korean citizens are guaranteed for national health insurance under the National Health Insurance Act. South Korea has worked on its way to implement gender equality by revising and changing any discriminative contents in its existing legislative laws since the 1980s. Women in South Korea have experienced significant improvements for social changes in recent years, compared to previous times, when Confucianism was deeply imbued in the culture. In today’s society, the economy of South Korea has tremendously improved due to urbanisation, industrialisation, military authoritarianism, democratic reform, and social liberalisation since the late 1960s.

  • Female military recruits now receive the same basic training as the male recruits.
  • He gained popularity through expressly anti-feminist views that garnered the support of disaffected young male voters.
  • Yet this feminist dream seems increasingly far-fetched, as Mr. Yoon’s conservative government champions regressive policies that only magnify the problem.
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Women artists described the objective reality of women’s oppression and featured the realities from a variety of feminist perspectives. In 1985, the National Committee on Women’s Policies adopted the «Master Plan for Women’s Development» and the «Guidelines for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women» as government policies. In 1946 the Women’s Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs was opened as the first governmental office to deal with the growing needs and problems of women.

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During this period modern schools were introduced, mostly by Western Christian missionaries. Some of these schools were founded with the specific goal of educating women. These educated women began to engage in the arts, teaching, religious work, and enlightening other women. Women also took part in the independence movement against the Japanese occupation, and displayed no less vigor, determination, and courage than the men. «Femi,» short for feminist, has become a derogatory label for any person who speaks up about gender discrimination and women’s empowerment in South Korea. Hwang, of Haeil, said asking someone if they are a «femi» in Korea is the same thing as asking if they have a mental illness. Many feminist activists have to operate anonymously over fears of death threats.

New women’s groups were formed and previously existing ones were reorganized and invigorated to contribute to a variety of fields such as politics, social affairs, religion, education, and social service. In the 712-page World Report 2023, its 33rd edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in close to 100 countries. In her introductory essay, acting Executive Director Tirana Hassan says that in a world in which power has shifted, it is no longer possible to rely on a small group of mostly Global North governments to defend human rights.

Groups, the government has not ratified Convention No. 190 of the International Labour Organization, which promotes measures to end harassment and violence in the workplace. Supporters of the ministry say its work benefits a range of people, including men. Just five years ago, during the 2017 election, endorsing feminism was a bipartisan trend. Moon Jae-in, who won by a record 17 points, declared himself a feminist in his campaign, as did his conservative rivals. Anti-feminist voters, particularly young men in their 20s, emerged as a political force, rooting for Yoon and his People Power Party. In South Korea, women make up 19% of lawmakers, compared with 27% in the U.S.

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It would destigmatize births outside of marriage and make domestic duties everyone’s responsibility. With the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948, women achieved constitutional rights for equal opportunities to pursue education, work, and public life.

Therefore, as working-class women, they have more power in making decisions within their households and are more financially independent. On the other hand, in rural areas, most women work in a primary industry such as the agriculture sector. In fact, they do not have the variety of educational and employment opportunities. According to a 2019 survey by Ministry of Agriculture, woman farmers accounted for more than 50% of all farmers. However, 81% responded that a woman farmer is lower in status than a male farmer. Today, women are in every occupation, from government officials to business persons and professors.

As South Korea’s leader, Yoon must show that he firmly believes the empowerment of women contributes to the growth and development of a free and just society — something he has until now failed to do. Eliminating these stereotypes will take more than enacting new laws and setting up task forces. It means working toward changing the mindset of an entire country toward women. 6.1.1 Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services, by urban/rural. Discrimination against working mothers by employers is also absurdly common.