Despite the higher level of educational attainment among South Korean women, fewer job opportunities and promotions are given. In 2018, only 3.6% of executives at the top 500 companies by sales were women. On top of women’s employment, Korea ranked 30 in 36 OECD nations.
Apart from statistics, there are some concrete examples in their societies. KB Kookmin Bank, KEB Hana Bank, and Shinhan Bank, which are the largest South Korean banks, were found to have eliminated female applicants. The passing score was controlled to favor men. Women were excluded and replaced by men for most of the cases. These cases happened in other industries simultaneously. Female’s plans for marriage and having a child are frequently asked. These plans are treated as “interrupting business continuity due to maternity leave”.
Under this patriarchal workplace culture, President Moon Jae-in described the gender gap as a “shameful reality” and promised to tackle this problem. However, it is difficult to provide evidence and prove gender discrimination. It can be explained by “ability”. Although companies may be punished, they can still handle the penalties easily. Also, females may face sanctions, resulting in difficulties in finding another job. It deters them from reporting gender discrimination cases in the long run.
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