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20대 경제활동, 이제 여성시대

작년, 한국 20대 여성의 경제활동참가율이 20대 남성을 처음으로 앞질렀다.

7일 통계청과 고용노동부에 의하면, 2012년 20대 여성의 경제활동참가율은 62.9% 기록한 반면, 20대 남성은 62.6%였다.

여성의 경쟁력이 크게 향상되고 자기계발 성향이 강해지면서 경제활동참가율이 20대 남성을 앞질렀다고 통계청은 설명했다.

또 20대 여성의 결혼 그리고 출산이 늦어진 것도 하나의 요인이었다.

그러나 결혼해 아이를 낳고 길러야 하는 시기인 30대 여성의 경제활동참가율은 남성과 여전히 격차를 보였다.

2012년, 30대 여성의 참가율은 56% 기록했으며 남성은 93.3%였다.

<관련 영문 기사>

Women in 20s more economically active than men

By Park Hyong-ki

The proportion of Korean women in their 20s currently working or looking for work exceeded that of men in the same age group for the first time last year.

The so-called economic activity rate for women reached 62.9 percent, surpassing men’s 62.6 percent in 2012, signaling change in the labor market. An increasing number of women are working alongside men, data by Statistics Korea and the Ministry of Employment and Labor showed.

The increase in women’s activity rate is attributable to women pushing back marriage and motherhood, which can be a hindrance to their career.

Higher education attainment than men and greater investment in self-improvement also boosted Korean women’s participation in the workforce, the statistics bureau said.

The proportion of Korean women admitted to college has been ahead of that of men since 2009 when they had an 82.4 percent admission rate compared to men’s 81.6 percent.

The economic activity rate for women in their 20s was 61.1 percent, 9.8 percentage points lower than men’s in 2002.

Women’s labor participation started to gain momentum in 2005, while men’s rate began to show signs of waning.

Despite progress for women in their 20s, those in their 30s fell behind men last year, reaching only 56 percent, compared with men’s 93.3 percent.

Women in this age group often get married and have children, leaving the workforce temporarily or indefinitely to be full-time moms.

Toward that end, women’s monthly salary amounted to just over 60 percent of that of men, who received an average of 2.4 million won in 2011, as men find themselves being promoted more than women who go on maternity leave. Men can take paternity leave instead for up to 90 days, but very rarely do so as it is not commonly encouraged by employers. Less than 2 percent of the male working population chose paternity leave annually, according to the Korean Women’s Development Institute.

Korea has the biggest income gap between men and women among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members, the statistics bureau noted.

Overall, women had an economic participation rate of 49.9 percent last year compared with men’s 73.3 percent.