The Korea Herald


'Korea low in gender-related indexes’

By Claire Lee

Published : Aug. 28, 2016 - 17:12

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South Korea recorded low in two significant gender-related indexes, including the latest Gender Gap Report released annually by the World Economic Forum, a local study showed on Sunday.

According to the report, compiled by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, the World Economic Forum placed South Korea at 115 out of 145 countries in its annual index on gender equality last year.

The index has a total of four categories, including economic participation and opportunity, education and health and survival. South Korea’s rank in women’s economic participation and opportunity dropped significantly since 2006, the year the index was first published, according to the report.

In 2006, South Korea ranked in the 96th place in the specific category, belonging to the lowest 17 percent. Last year, the country ranked at an even lower place, 125th, belonging to the lowest 14 percent.
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South Korea was also placed at the bottom -- along with Japan and Turkey – among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in this year’s “glass-ceiling index” compiled and published by the British weekly the Economist. The index was created after combining data on women’s higher education, labor force population, maternity rights and representation in leadership roles, among others.

“In South Korea the favorable parental-leave system is mainly a response to its aging populations and shrinking labor force; but in other aspects it is far behind the Nordic countries, whose commitment to sexual equality goes back a long way,” the paper wrote.

A 2014 report from the International Monetary Fund found that the wide gender wage gap in South Korea is linked to the country’s employment market that often offers little job security.

“These indexes show that little is being done to tackle gender disparity in South Korea,” wrote researcher Park Geum-ryeong in the report. “Among many other things, Korea should come up with its own gender index that is conscious of the country’s unique social and cultural climate that affects the lives of women, such as social pressure on child care and domestic chores.”

By Claire Lee (