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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Women work - Women's life in statistics

Joongang Ilbo tells that the majority of married women (actually "housewives", chubu 主婦) in their 40s are having an extra job for the need to contribute to household expenses. The thing is that an increasing number of married women are seeking employment (but what kind of employment) as the families are having more and more difficult to cope with only the income of the father. (This piece of news comes actually from the recent Statistics Office publication "Women's Life in Statistics" (T'onggyero ponûn yôsôngûi sam). (The page at NSO where the report can be downloaded; the 80-page document as a 2.4 Mt hwp file and as a 4.3 Mt pdf file.)

The proportion of economically active women in their 20s is 60%, in their early 30s 49% [women in their early marriage, after giving birth to children], but rises again to 64% among women of 40-44 years of age [when children don't need constant attention any more].

The figure to the right: Women's economic activity after 15 years of marriage. Has not been working: 40.2%, quit work after getting marriage 11.8, went back to work after marriage 11, had work for the first time after marriage 29%, continues working from before marrying 7.9%.

These women are good work force for businesses. As they are not expected to make a living with the wages but only to contribute to the household expenses, they can be paid low wages; women's pay is 64% of men's salaries, tells the article. (Now I don't know whether this is the general wage level, or the difference of pay in similar occupations. Most likely the former.) It's a bit like arûbait'û (Ger. arbeit, through Japanese, meaning part time work not meant to provide a living), in which ridiculously low wages can be paid.

Women seeking salaried work or self-employment is of course nothing new, but it makes news when supposedly middle-class women need to do it, and when middle-class men are no more able to provide for their family.

Looking at the original document, women's overall participation in economic life is 49% in Korea. In Finland, 72% of women of 15-64 years of age belong to work force, 63% are occupied. Now this might look like a proof of women's freedom, but it tells as much how lousy men's salaries are...

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