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The President Park Geun-Hye was inaugurated on February 25. Some are pleased with the fact that a new era of the female president has begun. It is possible to understand them since Park Geun-Hye is the first female president in the history of Korea. Moreover, Korea is one of the countries that has a rather low participation of women in politics and society.

 

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  Since the female president took office, will the social status of women get improved soon?

 

  E-National Indicators of Statistics Korea provides an index of female employment trends which informs us about the economic activities of women aged 15 years and above.



The unemployment rate of women increased between 2007 and 2010 but it declined afterwards. The employment rate decreased until 2009 but it has slightly increased since 2010.

 

  However, the latest information shows a decreasing unemployment rate of women. The employment rate of women which was 48.7% in 2008 decreased into 48.1% in 2011. This figure increased up to 49.1% in 2012 October. However, it has consistently decreased since then, falling into 46.3% in 2013 January. This is the lowest figure for the past five years.

 



 The labor force participation rate of 47.8% in 2013 January was the lowest participation rate for the past five years.

 

<Index Explanation>

 

□ Labor force participation rate (%) = economically active population / population aged 15 and above × 100

 

The percentage of economically active population (employed + unemployed) in the population aged 15 and above, higher figures mean more active economic activities.

 

 □ Unemployment rate (%) = number of people unemployed/ economically active population × 100

The percentage of unemployed people in the economically active population (employed + unemployed), lower figures mean a higher utilization of national human resources

 

 □ Employment rate (%) = number of people employed / productive population × 100

The percentage of employed people in the productive population (population aged 15 and above), higher figures mean a higher utilization of national human resources

 

 Such a stark reality of women’s employment is more clearly manifested through a comparison with foreign countries.

 

  As of 2011, female economic activity in Korea is 27th among 30 OECD countries. The average female economic activity participation rate of OECD countries is 61.8% in 2011 whereas it is only 54.9% in Korea. It is far behind Iceland (82.4%) which has the highest participation rate of female economic activity in the world. It is only Italy, Mexico and Turkey that are lower than Korea.

 

  The difference between men and women is also prominent in Korea. In Korea, the difference between men and women in economic activity participation rate is 22.5%, exceeding the OECD average of 17.7%. It is 28th among 30 OECD countries.

 

  This tells us how low the level of female economic activity is in Korea. In other words, this shows how hard it is difficult for women to work in Korea.

  

<Economic Activity Participation Rate of Women in OECD countries (Age group 15~64)>

Type

’11

’10

’09

’08

’07

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

OECD Average

61.8

79.5

61.7

79.7

61.5

79.8

61.4

80.4

60.9

80.3

Iceland

82.4

87.8

82.7

88.2

82

88.4

82.5

90.9

83.6

91.6

Sweden

77.7

82.7

76.7

82.2

76.4

81.4

78.2

83.3

78.2

83.1

Switzerland

76.7

88.7

76.4

88.3

77.1

87.8

76.6

88

75

88.2

Denmark

76.1

82.3

76

82.6

76.8

83.6

76.8

84.5

76.4

83.9

Norway

75.8

80.1

75.6

80.8

76.5

81.4

77.4

82.9

75.9

81.8

Canada

74.2

81.5

74.2

81.5

74.3

81.7

74.3

82.7

74.1

82.4

Netherlands

73.1

83.6

72.6

83.8

72.3

84.6

71.7

84.8

70.4

83.8

Finland

72.7

77.5

72.5

76.7

73.5

75.8

74

78.1

73.9

77.4

New Zealand

72.2

83.6

71.8

83.6

72

83.9

71.8

84.4

71.6

84.9

Germany

71.8

82.6

70.8

82.4

70.4

82.2

69.7

82.1

69.4

81.8

Australia

70.5

82.9

70

82.9

70.1

82.6

70

83

69.5

83

United Kingdom

70.4

82.7

70.2

82.5

70.2

83.1

70.2

83.4

69.8

83.1

Portugal

69.8

78.5

69.9

78.2

69

78.5

68.9

79.5

68.8

79.4

Austria

69.5

81.1

69.3

80.9

69.6

81

68.6

81.4

67.8

81.7

Spain

67.9

81.5

66.8

81.9

65.7

82.2

64.1

83

62.3

82.7

United States

67.8

78.9

61.7

79.6

69

80.4

69.3

81.4

69.1

81.7

France

66.1

74.7

66.1

74.9

66.1

75

65.6

74.8

65.3

74.8

Japan

63

84.4

63.2

84.8

62.9

84.8

62.2

85.2

61.9

85.2

Ireland

62.6

77.2

62.6

77.9

62.9

79.6

63.3

81.2

63.5

81.6

Czech Republic

62.2

78.7

61.5

78.6

61.5

78.5

61

78.1

61.5

78.1

Belgium

61.1

72.3

61.8

73.4

60.9

72.8

60.8

73.3

60.4

73.6

Slovak Republic

61

76.7

61.3

76

60.6

76.3

61.4

76.4

60.7

75.8

Luxembourg

60.7

75

60.3

76

60.7

76.6

58.7

74.7

58.9

75

Poland

59.4

73

59

72.4

57.8

71.8

57

70.9

56.5

70

Greece

57.5

77.7

57.6

78.9

56.5

79

55.1

79.1

54.9

79.1

Hungary

56.8

68.8

56.7

68.3

55.3

68.2

55

68.3

55.1

69

Korea

54.9

77.4

54.5

77.1

53.9

76.9

54.7

77.3

54.8

77.6

Italy

51.5

73.1

51.1

73.3

51.1

73.7

51.6

74.4

50.7

74.4

Mexico

45.9

82.3

46.3

83

45.2

82.3

45.9

83.5

45.3

83.7

Turkey

31.5

76.4

30.2

75.4

28.4

75.2

26.7

74.8

25.7

74.4

Source : OECD, Employment Outlook 2009
* Age group 16-64 : Spain, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and United States

 

  The Ministry of Employment and Labor states that the utilization of women resources will increase along with the trend of falling birthrate and the ageing of society (As of 2009, birthrate : 1.15), and accordingly prospects that the economic activity participation rate of women will also increase continuously. However, economically active women are on decline in 2013. The unemployment rate of women is also increasing.

 

  Although Korea has a female president, it is still a country difficult for women to work and a country with a low OECD ranking.

 

  Attached is the trend of female employment provided by the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

 

  Please refer to the attached file for more information on the current state of employment rate, the number of people employed, non-regular female workers, wages and working conditions.

 


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