The Korea Herald


Korea's gender equality shows slight improvement in 2022: govt. data

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : June 7, 2024 - 14:08

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South Korea's level of gender equality improved slightly in 2022, although women's presence in leadership roles and political representation remains low, according to government data released on Friday.

The National Gender Equality Index reached 65.7 out of 100 in 2022, marking a 0.2-point increase from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The index, which gauges the degree of equality between women and men in various areas, has been announced annually by the government since 2010.

The index aims to assess the country's progress toward gender equality and inform policy direction. A score of 100 indicates complete equality, while 0 signifies complete inequality.

"Based on the results of this year's National Gender Equality Index assessment, we will continue to strive for a society free of discrimination by actively incorporating policies that enhance gender representation in both the public and private sectors," said Vice Gender Equality Minister Shin Young-sook during press briefing on Friday.

Education scored highest among the index's seven categories, with 95.4 points, followed by health at 92.4 points, gender equality awareness (80 points), income (78.5 points), employment (74 points) and care (31.4 points). The decision-making category, which reflects women's presence in leadership positions, scored the lowest at 30.7 points.

In detail, the 2022 report also showed a 0.6-point decline in the proportion of female members of the National Assembly compared to 2021 and an 18.5-point drop in the proportion of female ministers.

When looking into the data regionally, Seoul, Gwangju, Daejeon, Sejong and Jeju displayed the highest levels of gender equality. Conversely, gender equality levels remained low in the South and North Gyeongsang Provinces, South Jeolla Province and North Chungcheong Province.

The ministry noted that the 2022 National Gender Equality Index is the first to be calculated using revised indicators.

The index up until 2021 had been based on indicators established over a decade ago and had been criticized for not adequately reflecting current societal changes, according to the ministry. For instance, indicators like the "sex ratio for the third child and beyond" were deemed no longer relevant.

Eleven indicators including the aforementioned birth ratio were removed from the 2022 index.

Nine new indicators were introduced, such as the proportion of female ministers, high-ranking women in legal and law enforcement fields and how much women receive in national pension funds (based on one's monthly salary and length of employment).

For continuity purposes, the ministry also released results using the previous indicators. Based on the previous indicators, the 2022 National Gender Equality Index stood at 76.0 points, a 0.6-point increase from the 75.4 points in 2021.