The Korea Herald


Girls starting school early could boost fertility rate: state-backed agency report

Report suggests policy measures to help enhance sexual attractiveness

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : June 3, 2024 - 18:02

    • Link copied

(Getty Image) (Getty Image)

A state-run research organization in South Korea has sparked debate after its analysis suggesting that sending girls to school a year earlier could help boost fertility rates last week.

The Korea Institute of Public Finance, a government-funded center dedicated to evaluating the country's tax system and public spending, proposed sending girls to school early, assessing that it could make men and women more attracted to each other when they reach marriageable age because men develop more slowly than women.

“Considering that men's development is slower than women's, allowing women to enter school a year earlier may contribute to making men and women more attractive to each other in the future when they reach the right age for marriage,” the report noted in its May issue on fiscal and policy recommendations to respond to the declining working population.

Its suggestion is based on the perception that men are sexually attracted to relatively younger women and women are attracted to relatively older men.

The report, published in the section titled "Support Policy for Successful Relationships," also noted that "having the will (to marry and date) does not mean that you will succeed in dating,” stressing that the government should devise policy measures for “arranging meetings” between women and men and “enhancing sexual attractiveness and sociability."

Democratic Party of Korea Chairman Rep. Lee Jae-myung on Monday joined the criticism of the proposal, lambasting it as an "absurd solution."

“We need to take fundamental and macro-level measures (against the low birth rate),” he said, adding that “a consultative body of ruling and opposition parties is essential for specific and major issues.”

Amid growing concerns over the credibility of the state-funded report, the KIPF said the author's report does not represent the institution's official stance concerning the government's birth rate policy.