Marriage, not child rearing, is the leading cause of South Korean women quitting their jobs, a survey released by an association of the country's largest conglomerates said Sunday.
According to the findings by the Federation of Korean Industries based on a poll of 5,887 women nationwide in 2010, the likelihood of a woman giving up work after getting married was 37.8 percent higher than those who remained single.
Among women in their 20s, their chances of leaving work after marriage shot up 58.2 percent vis-a-vis those who were not bound in matrimony.
In contrast, the chance of married women with children giving up work was only 2.9 percent higher than those without kids.
The FKI said numbers did rise to 7.5 percent for younger women in their 20s, but even this difference is much smaller than the numbers tallied for women who quit work after marriage.
The government has been trying to bring more women into the nation's workforce, encouraging companies to offer flexible hours and other incentives to help those who need to juggle between home and work.
Divorce or death of a spouse played a considerable role in women giving up their jobs. Among young women in their 20s, the likelihood of them quitting work because of a marital breakup or death was 38.5 percent higher than those that maintained a normal marriage.
The federation's survey, conducted jointly with a research team from Dongguk University, debunked the perception that educated women were more likely to hold jobs than those with limited educational backgrounds.
Highly educated women were only 0.05 percent more likely to have jobs than those who were not, it showed.
Related to the report, the federation said the lack of firm social belief that women should be economically active may be causing many to quit
Without consensus or "pressure" on woman to maintain their careers, marriage seems to be acting as a trigger for many people to quit and become full-time homemakers and mothers, it said.
"If the government wants to pursue its policy of keeping women in the workplace and achieving national employment numbers of 70 percent, it needs to come up with policies to encourage people not to quit after marriage," said Lee Cheol-haeng, a senior analyst for the FKI's labor management team. He suggested the government offer
tax breaks for hiring household helpers that will ease domestic workload on women, and give incentives and benefits to women who keep working after marrying. (Yonhap)