Monday, July 30, 2012

Women in Korean Society

"The Lectures on Happiness," a popular column in the Peace Weekly, recently focused on the place of women in Korean society. Women, senior citizens, service and environment are often considered the primary topics of the 21st century, and the topic of women often holds center stage.

If you go to a restaurant around noontime, you will generally find that most of those present are women. You will find women crowding the markets and department stores. 60 percent of the money in circulation is in the hands of women. And although divorces among younger women have decreased,  divorces later in life have increased, and most of the divorces are wanted by women.

An estimated 70 percent of high-income  jobs, such as doctors, pharmacists, and lawyers, are held by women. A survey made in Japan of 115 companies with women on the board of trustees indicated that the price of the stocks increased by 96 percent after women were accepted as trustees of the companies. One entrepreneur is reported to have said that if 30 percent of company executives are not women, the company will fail, since women control the spending of money in most households. And who better to know, in his opinion, what women want then other women.

In Korea, in the political and social arenas, women are not a driving force. In the last parliament, women made up only 5.4 percent of the members, and in the present parliament, 12 percent are women. Although highly educated, women have found few leadership roles within society. This is also true within the Church. They are the majority of the congregation but are not the decision makers. 

The columnist believes the reason for this is the great concern for their children's education. After graduation from college, the women marry, have children and give up working.

Child psychologists say the brain at 3-5 years of age  is only 75 percent developed, so it is best not to fixate on any particular subject, such as reading the Korean script. But mothers often want to start their children early, and as a result the children miss out on other important areas of life.  He feels there should be more of an interest on learning how to live well and happily, and less attention given to spending astronomical sums of money on private education.

Mothers have their eyes fixed on getting their child prepared for entrance into a good college and often ignore the child's spiritual growth. He concludes the column with a lament that there is a lack of understanding of what is important in life. Striving to excel in school, unfortunately, trumps striving for politeness, order and service.

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