The Korea Herald


40% of Korea's female workers say they were paid less due to their gender

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 3, 2024 - 16:40

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Roughly four out of 10 South Korean female employees said they have received less in wages from their employer due to their gender, a survey showed Sunday.

Local civic group Gabjil 119 surveyed 1,000 employees across the country about gender discrimination in work-related issues such as wages or promotions. It showed 40.6 percent of the female respondents said they have been unfairly penalized in wages because of their gender, which was nearly double the 21.8 percent of men who said the same.

The percentage of those penalized unfairly in wages due to their gender was highest among women in their 50s, 34.9 percent, and married women, 34.4 percent.

Overall, 29.9 percent of all respondents said they were subject to gender-based hiring due to their gender, the highest out of all categories. It was followed by gender discrimination during recruitment and hiring (27.4 percent); during job training, work assignments and promotions (26.5 percent); and in welfare benefits other than wages (23 percent).

Some 34.6 percent of women said they experienced unfair treatment because of their gender in hiring and recruitment, compared to only 22 percent for men. This included cases like excluding certain genders during the hiring process or having a hiring quota for a certain gender.

In one instance shared by Gabjil 119, a female employee was told by her supervisor to "not betray him by getting pregnant and taking paternity leave if you get promoted, because I'm trying hard for you (to get you the promotion).”

"This survey shows that women are subject to gender discrimination throughout their employment, from hiring to retirement... There needs to be social awareness to ensure that the contributions of female employees are assessed fairly," said Park Eun-ha, a certified public labor attorney working for the civic group.

A 2021 figure by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that the gender pay gap in South Korea was 31.1 percent, marking the 26th straight year the country recorded the highest gender pay gap among the member states.