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Tag Archive for Gender Korea
By Don Southerton, KoreaLegal.org Editor
A client asked about workplace maternity leave coverage in Korea. In the US coverage can vary state to state. Some like California, include provisions for the spouse to take time off for bonding, too. Similar laws exist in Europe.
In South Korea, thee Ministry of Gender Equality was established in 2005 as an administrative agency maintaining and overseeing the social safety network under which married and unmarried women can work without feeling discrimination.
With regard to having children, Maternity Protection Laws took effect in 2001. Women employees must be given 90 days paid maternity leave and an additional 45 days of unpaid leave; employers pay for 60 of the 90 days and the government the remaining thirty. However, this law applies just to firms covered by state employment insurance, which can leave out some. Currently there is discussion that State employment insurance protections should be extended to cover those that fall outside government coverage. Other feel the laws in general need to be strengthened, with declining birth rates a concern.
By Don Southerton, Korea Expert Witness Editor and Chief Blogger
The following report in Chosun Ilbo is no surprise. A wage earning’s gap has exsisted for years, even with more and more women entering the workplace. I feel it will be years before things level off–most women still in low level positions within Korean corporations. Since promotions are usually based on time, I expect it’ll be 5-7 years before women’s wages rise.
Korea has the widest gap between the earnings of men and women in the 30 OECD member states. According to an OECD report released Thursday, Korean men earned on average 38 percent more than women as of last year. The gap is more than double the OECD average of 18.8 percent.
Japan came second with a gap of 33 percent, followed by Germany (23 percent), Austria (22 percent), and the U.K. and Canada (21 percent).
Korea came fourth with 30 percent in terms of the employment gap between men and women after Turkey (51 percent), Mexico (46 percent), and Greece (32 percent).
The birthrate is also the smallest in the OECD at 1.08, far below the average of 1.64. The average age of Korean women at first childbirth is 29.1, the fifth oldest in the OECD members and 1.3 years older than the average. And the teenage birthrate, or births per 1,000 South Korean girls aged 15-19, was the lowest at 3.5, while that of the U.S. was the highest at 50.3.
The ratio of out-of-wedlock births to total births for Korea was also the lowest at 1.3 percent, while Iceland’s was the highest at 65.6 percent.
By Don Southerton, Korea Expert Witness Editor and Chief Blogger
I’ve long been a fan of Korean genre art. Surfacing in the late 18th century, the art form showcases popular culture. A common theme was the role of women, a topic seldom depicted in Court art. This Chosun Ilbo article points out the changing role of women in Korea’s past. The above picture is by one of my favorite artists, Shin Yun-bok.
Korean genre paintings of the 18th and early 19th centuries show a profound change in the role played by women in the Chosun Dynasty. The director of the Myongji University Museum, Lee Tae-ho, took a fresh look at some 60 genre paintings produced between the 18th century and early 19th century by Kim Hong-do, Shin Yun-bok, Yun Du-seo and others, and concluded that they pick up on how women in that era took on a more independent and powerful role. “Paintings produced after the 18th century often feature women focusing on entertainment rather than their traditional role as mother or wife,” Lee says. “That change can be compared to a kind of cultural DNA which runs through to today’s women in Korea, who play a more active and aggressive role.”
◆ Women Take to the Streets
Against the widespread perception that women in the late Chosun era were confined in the framework of Sung Confucianism, genre paintings show women taking part in an ever greater variety of social events. The Gisagyecheop, an album of paintings depicting a party in honor of retired high ranking scholar-officials produced between 1719 and 1720, is the first series of court paintings that features ordinary people watching the event. Depicting the party with King Sukjong, who was 60, and the 10 retired high ranking officials, the paintings show 15 women among the 88 onlookers gathered around Gwanghwamun. Paintings of King Jeongjo’s Visit to Hwaseong in 1795, some 70 years later, show the king paying a visit to the grave of his father Crown Prince Sado, and Lee spotted no fewer than 137 women among the 358 people who look on as the king crosses the Han River.
◆ Gisaeng Girls as Trendsetters
Gisaeng or all-round female entertainers were the trendsetters of the era, with noblewomen borrowing from their style. Genre paintings confirm, for example, that clothes emphasizing women’s body silhouette such as tight-fitting short jackets were highly popular. “It is deplorable that clothes only gisaeng girls wear to flirt with men are popular,” lamented two scholars of the so-called Silhak or practical learning movement, Yi Ik (1681-1764) and Yi Deok-mu (1741-1793). Colors became more diverse and flamboyant, and especially blue, which was considered luxurious and sophisticated, was all the rage. Among the 70 women who appear in an album of 30 paintings by Shin Yun-bok in the early 19th century, 52 wear indigo, which was the most difficult to produce with traditional dyeing methods.
◆ From Den to High-Class Establishment
Genre paintings produced by Kim Hong-do around 1780s and Shin Yun-bok in 1810s show a sea change in traditional Korean taverns. While taverns in Kim’s paintings have thatch roofs and women owners wearing monochrome jackets without any particular decoration, those in Shin’s paintings some 30 years later have tiled roofs that were seen only in noblemen’s houses at the time. The manageresses look urban in their indigo skirts as they welcome customers.
◆ Fun Over Chores
In most genre paintings, women in clothes that identify them as noblewomen are seen flirting or even posing for erotic pictures. But in those painted by scholar Yun Do-seo and his son Yun Deok-hi, they are shown reading or doing chores. An unattributed erotic painting of the time even depicts a noblewoman having sex with a Buddhist monk.