Is Divorce in Korea Finally Socially Acceptable?


Sorry for the lack of posts recently, and the very short notice with this one, but in an hour from now (7:45pm Korean time) I’ll briefly be on 101.3 TBS eFM’s evening show, talking about the title topic. For the details, see here, and note that unfortunately you can only listen live on Internet Explorer sorry.

Update – Well, that was a little embarrassing: because of a miscommunication, technical problem, and/or a last minute editorial decision, I didn’t actually get called in the end!

But for anyone still interested in the subject though, then I was going to mention that while on the one hand the stigma surrounding divorce is certainly disappearing over time, with 1 in 4 marriages now involving a divorcee and in particular both the numbers of women remarrying and their rate of increase outstripping those of men, on the other hand the profoundly gendered effects of the recent economic crisis here have left Korean women more financially reliant on their husbands than ever, as explained at #2 here, here, and #15 here.

Meanwhile, see here for more information on both the high rates and the practicalities of getting a divorce in Korea, and here for more on the hoju or family-registry system (호주), which had a huge role in drawing attention to people’s marital status (or parents’ status) and consequently being able to discriminate against them on that basis. Moreover, although that has recently been abolished, one final point I was going to make was that unfortunately that’s just one of many superfluous things corporations take into account in their hiring practices, as demonstrated here, at #8 here, here, here, and here, and so it’s probably going to take a while before Korean business culture catches up with the social reality.