The Chosun Ilbo ran an article aptly titled "Korea Flounders Near Bottom in Gener Equality":
Korea climbed 11 notches on the World Economic Forum's gender gap index as an increasing number of women hold senior government posts, but the country still languishes near the bottom among 134 countries surveyed. The reason is the low proportion of women in the entire workforce and big differences in salaries between men and women.
In the Global Gender Gap Report released Tuesday by the Swiss-based WEF, Korea ranked 104th overall, up from 115 last year. By category it ranked 111th in employment, 100th in education, 79th in health, and 86th in politics. Korean women earn only half the money of their male counterparts, and only 11 percent of lawmakers, high-ranking officials or executives were women. [...]There were 134 countries survey and Korean women really do get sh** on in this country. When you look at this ranking, which is published every year, Korea ranks near the bottom with the most notorious African and Arab nations. You would not think this possible considering how liberal and free a society they have, but men here are vicious and do not play fair. Women are also overly submissive, and seem to just take it.
Korean society still has a nineteenth century paradigm belief that the man should go out and work and the woman should stay home and raise the kids. If a woman does want to work ("isn't that cute"), then she should pursue a classic profession as a teacher, nurse, or secretary.
Laws also do not exist or are not being enforced to protect Korean women. Koreans themselves joke that every time a Korean woman gets pregnant, somewhere a Korean woman loses her job. In the cut throat competitive business world, where it is not uncommon for employees to put in 65+ hours a week, the idea that a woman would need to take off work for three weeks to six months to perpetuate the human race is seen as an assault on the economic progress of the nation. Many woman get pregnant and just lose their jobs. Or else it is made clear to them that they have no future at the company and they should just quit.
Korean business men also still have a "good old boys club" business philosophy. Late night drinking with the boss is seen as an imperative to get ahead. Korean business men will go to singing rooms and party with strippers or prostitutes and talk business. Or they'll go to a bathhouse and get naked together before closing a deal. They do not want more women doing business because the party would be over.
Indeed, 46.3% of Korean women between the ages of 15 and 64 are not working and have given up looking because they do not see how they can prosper in an economic system and political culture that is rigged against them.
The gender wage gap has also been growing in the weak job market. (source)
The gender wage gap appears to be widening again after narrowing over the past few years, according to a recent study.
The analysis of 520,000 resumes by job website Incruit shows that women still earn less than men with an average of W22.47 million per year, which is 77 percent of men's W29.16 million. Last year women earned W21.76 million or 77.7 percent of men's W27.99 million.
The wage gap had been shrinking in recent years. In 2005 women took home W18.5 million or 77 percent of the W24.03 million for men, but in 2008 women caught up to 80.5 percent, at W20.34 million compared to W25.28 million. However, the gap started widening again last year, and has become even broader this year.
"The gap had been narrowing thanks to changing perceptions of gender roles and diminishing gender discrimination," an Incruit spokesperson said. "However, the worsening job market due to the financial crisis seems to be having a relatively larger negative impact on women."What this means is that when companies had to let people go to slim down during the economic recession, the women were the first to get dumped.