Korean Women Angry at Being Promoted Less Than Men

Gender Gap Angry Woman(Source: TheDailyEnglishShow.com,via studio tdes)

A snapshot of some of the different forms of sexual discrimination experienced at Korean workplaces, from the January 15 edition of Metro Busan:

Women Workers’ “Promotion Grief” is Big

71% Say “Compared to Men, Promotions Come Late and with Limits”…54% Say “We Feel Inhibited From Asking for Maternity Leave”

A survey of women workers has revealed that when it comes to promotion, they still feel that they suffer from sexual discrimination.

The results of a survey of 1623 women workers by job portal site JobKorea, released on the 14th, showed that 71.4% believed that the promotion systems at their companies placed women at a disadvantage.

Asked for more information about this discrimination, 40.4% [of the 1623 women] said that “compared to men that enter the company at the same time, women have to wait longer to get promoted,” and 38.3% added that “women are excluded from some higher positions.”

In addition, 35.9% mentioned that “if we take maternity leave or time off before and after giving birth, we get lower scores on our evaluations by the personnel department,” 29% that “even if we have the same ability and practical know-how as men, we get lower scores,” and 21.8% that women simply are excluded from certain kinds of jobs.

Also, 54.7% replied that they found it very difficult to ask their superiors or coworkers for time off for childbirth, 15.8% said that they felt pressure to quit their jobs after having a baby, and finally 8.6% were aware of cases where recent mothers were indeed forced to quit. (end)

With no information given about the methodology used, then all those results should be taken with a grain of salt unfortunately.

In particular, considering that it is still common practice to fire women upon marriage, then that last figure sounds rather low to me. Also, consider that before the current economic crisis, not only did Korea already have one of the lowest women’s workforce participation rates (and the highest wage gap) in the OECD, but that those few that did work formed a disproportionate number of irregular workers. This ensured that they would be laid-off en masse last year (see #15 here also), and they are unlikely to return to work soon given Korea’s jobless recovery.

(In stark contrast, the decline in the construction industry in the US, for instance, means that for the first time in history actually more women work than men there now.)

Meanwhile, the effects of all the above on Korea’s low birthrate have also been somewhat predictable, now the world’s lowest for the third year running. But never fear, for the Korean Broadcasting Advertising Corporation (KOBACO) is on the case:

(See here {Korean} for more on the making of the campaign)

In KOBACO’s defense, the first women featured does actually have a job. Is it churlish of me to point out that she still goes home early to cook while her husband burns the midnight oil…?

Update 1: Lest the commercial not succeed though, then the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs (보건복지가족부), in charge of raising the country’s birthrate, is insisting that its employees go home at 7:30 pm on the third Wednesday of each month, all the better to have sex with their partners and have more babies.

No, unfortunately I’m not making that up.

Update 2: This satire of that is so good, it’s difficult not to believe that it’s the real thing!