By Don Southerton, Korea Expert Witness Editor and Chief Blogger
Gender in the Korean workplace is a topic I will often discuss in this Blog. Much has changed. One only has to stroll through a Korean office to see women as important members of the team. At one time women were temporary workers, who quit after marriage for child-rearing. Today a high percentage of women have broken away from the old norms of previous generations and seek white-collar careers like their male colleagues. Nevertheless, some issues still are firmly rooted despite several years of government agency mandates on non-discrimination.
For example, “Appearance” is an issue even thought the Korean government has regulations to guard against the practice of attaching importance to women’s appearance such as in hiring. Many companies still prefer to hire young, pretty women.
To counter discrimination the government has developed and distributed sample recruitment forms and procedures. The new forms do not require applicants to enter their height, weight, age. or submit a photo. Instead, the emphasis in about their career and capabilities.