Female Report!

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News: The shock of true equality – men pushing prams in South Korea (The Economist)

51_1resized___father_looking_at_babyAs women are increasingly taking on traditionally male positions, infiltrating senior executive and board positions, it seems that men who choose to take on characteristically female responsibilities are turning heads.

In South Korea, women are accelerating, generally upholding well-paid positions and are advancing at a considerable rate.  The mother of Confucian philosopher Yulgok is even presented on the country’s highest denomination note, whilst her son resides on the note below her.  However, it seems that despite the role of women is ever-increasing and diversifying in South Korea, the case does not seem to be so clear cut for men.

When Park Chan-hee took his daughter for a lunchtime visit to the local playground in South Korea, he was shunned, stared at and assumed to be unsuccessful and unemployed by other mothers.  Well, what possible other reason could there be for a father to be taking his daughter to the swing set during the day?  Men generally have little input in the family and household.  Jayoung Yoon of the Korea Labour Institute calculated that mothers with young children spend nearly five times as long looking after their family and home as fathers do. However, this is an improvement, in 2009 men gave about half an hour a day more of their time to domestic chores than they had done ten years earlier, and women shaved off roughly 20 minutes.

But in sustaining such a hostile atmosphere for men to take on more responsibilities in the home, women are hindering their own progress. Women in their 20s now have higher labour-force participation rates than men, but many drop out in their 30s.  In order to keep South Korea’s women in the workforce and pushing the boundaries of female corporate participation, we need to encourage a less stigmatised environment for men in the family home, in order to achieve true equality both in the workplace and at home.

For the full story: http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21588207-faced-overwhelming-pressures-south-korean-women-have-gone-baby-strike-pram-too


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