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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Mon 18 Sep 2006

Depiction of women, South Korea

Category : world

About 7 years ago, a South Korean grad student who was studying bears accompanied me to a meeting with some vets and education officers at Taipei Zoo. They happened to all be women.

When we left Taipei Zoo, she commented enthusiastically about the number of women she saw working there, the positions they were holding and the respect with which they were treated. After asking a few questions, I learnt something about the working conditions in South Korea.

A story I remember in particular was about how the men in the countryside would ignore her questions during her preliminary field surveys to find bears. They'd invariably only talk to her male technician!

So I was interested to read this earlier today:

... South Korea has struggled to erase deeply entrenched stereotypes about gender roles and to boost its birth rate. At an average of 1.08 children per woman, the current birth rate is the lowest in the developed world.

Gone from primary and high school textbooks from next year will be suggestions that it is a woman's job to iron and cook. The new books will promote working mothers and fathers who help at home, and will show families that have more than one child.

The ministry plans to cut items from textbooks such as: 'It's important not only for family happiness but also for national stability that fathers work hard and lead the family while mothers make sure that everyone in the family can freely focus on their jobs'.

The ministry also plans to delete suggestions that the elderly are passive, inactive and waiting to be supported. And, to cut discrimination, it will place less emphasis on extolling the single-race make-up of the Korean people.

Extracted from "Woman's place no longer at home in S. Korea textbooks." Straits Times (Reuters), 18 Sep 2006.

Posted at 3:23PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .