South Korea

Is Performance only worthwhile for men?

The decades-long economic miracle that has propelled South Korea into the top ten most efficient economies in the world has its flaws: The country is also one of the leading nations in the "gender pay gap" category, which refers to the difference in income between men and women. For women with career ambitions, the notorious "glass ceilings" are proving to be particularly thick there. The whole issue has historical and social reasons. Up to the present day, many traditions based on Confucianism still have strong impact on this changing society. Over decades, the need for change has been addressed by many voices, but there is still a long way to go.

The Korea Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has now presented a working paper on this topic, initially in English. It is entitled "Work-Family Balance, Traditions, Gender Discrimination - Obstacles for Women at Work in South Korea". In this Korean-German joint venture, the two authors Choyoung Son and Darja-Neufeld derive the current situation from the historical development and present recommendations for the future.

Many of the phenomena described in the paper seem to be tied to Asian culture and tradition - and yet some of them seem quite familiar to us.