The government will set aside 4.65 trillion won ($4.27 billion) this year to carry out diverse programs aimed at supporting women at their homes and workplaces, the finance ministry said Tuesday.
The budget appropriated for supporting women is up 26.3 percent, or 968.6 billion, won from last year, according to the ministry. It is focused mostly on assisting working moms from pregnancy to childbirth and then with childcare.
Of the total, 3.64 trillion won will go to childcare through programs pushed by the health ministry.
About 844.2 billion won will be assigned to helping working mothers, including providing childcare centers at workplaces. Another 166.2 billion won will be spent on helping and protecting victims of sexual and domestic violence, the ministry said.
To help ease the burden of childcare mostly shouldered by women, the ministry said it will encourage men to take more paternity leaves and increase the amount of pay during their leave.
The measures are part of Park Geun-hye administration's goal to raise the overall employment rate to 70 percent, partly by helping women keep their jobs while raising children.
Data consistently show that the employment rates among women in their 30s and older dropped significantly compared with their male counterparts. Many who leave the workforce cite a lack of childcare support as the reason.
"We will work hard to reduce the number of women who are forced to stop working by expanding support in accordance with their life cycles from pregnancy to childbirth, child-rearing, re-employment and childcare at workplaces," the ministry said. (Yonhap News)