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Report on gender equity falls short: activists
Say rise in employment does not translate to an increase in social status, equalityWomen celebrate International Women's Day last year
- Stephen Hong, Seoul
- June 28, 2012
The report, released on Tuesday by Statistics Korea in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, states that the number of women employed in professional sectors and graduated from universities has risen.
Womenâ€™s college entrance rates have surpassed that of menâ€™s since 2009, according to the report, with 75 percent of female high school students entering university, as opposed to 70.2 percent of male students.
The report also noted rises in the percentage of female doctors and lawmakers, among other traditionally male-dominated professions over the last two decades.
Bae Jin-kyung, secretary-general of the Korean Women Workers Association, told ucanews.com yesterday that it was â€śunreasonableâ€ť to say an increase in womenâ€™s participation in professional fields constituted an improvement of status in society.
â€śYou can say the polarization of womenâ€™s jobs is deepening,â€ť she said, adding â€śmore than 60 percent of part-time workers are women who on average earn 50 percent less than men.â€ť
Hwang Hae-bum, manager of Statistics Korea, said a rise in womenâ€™s education has allowed them to enter professional fields such as education, medicine and law in greater numbers, thereby increasing their social status.
But while activists note that this trend is â€śencouraging,â€ť they say that significant challenges remain.
Kwon Park Mi-suk, an activist with the group Korean Womenlink, said companies still discriminate on the basis of sex, forcing many women to seek only those fields where â€śthey can join in through a fair exam.â€ť
She added: â€śGender equality in the labor market still has a long way to go.â€ť
The report says that in 2010 women comprised 6.3 percent of high-ranking public officers, though they represent 49.9 percent of Koreaâ€™s population of 50 million.