The Korea Times

More female civil servants boost equality

- By Kim Hyun-bin

An increase in the number of female civil servants has been noticeable in recent years.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family collected female representa­tion data for 2017 from each government branch.

The data will be used to back the ministry’s “2018-2022 Female Representa­tion Improvemen­t Plan,” which aims to increase the number of female government workers each year. Compared to 2012 data, female representa­tion in government jobs has soared, recording an all time high.

Public officials are ranked from levels nine to one, with one being the highest, and necessary for an ambassador posting.There has been a drastic increase of women in level four positions, which could open opportunit­ies for them to advance to higher government positions.

In 2012, 9.3 percent of level four public officials were women; by 2017 it reached 14.7 percent.

A drastic increase was also seen in government overseen posts where female participat­ion rose from 25.7 percent to 40.2 percent.

Even in the police force and military, female representa­tion has slowly risen each year.

Female military officers rose from 5.8 percent to 7.4 percent, while the percentage of policewome­n jumped from 7.5 percent to 10.9 percent in the same period.

The largest margin was with school principal and vice principal positions over the last half a decade.

In 2012, only 24.6 percent were female, but that number shot up to 40.6 percent, surpassing the 40 percent mark for the first time.

Experts say it’s a matter of time before the number of female principals exceeds that of their male counterpar­ts.

For over a decade the number of male teachers has gradually dropped each year.

Female teachers marked 63.5 percent nationwide in 2007, but that number jumped to 69.2 percent in 2017, according to the Ministry of Education.

Out of 360 people that passed the teacher recruitmen­t exam for Seoul public elementary schools, 320 (88.8 percent) were female, according to the Seoul Metropolit­an Office of Education.

The government plans to set a goal for each government agency to increase female representa­tion in the workforce by 2022 and plans to focus on legal reforms and aid to reach that goal.

It plans to level the playing field for all sexes in the public workforce and make it mandatory to appoint at least one female executive at a public institutio­n by 2019.

More female workforce

“The #MeToo movement sweeping the country is due to sexual discrimina­tion within the societal structure. To reduce this, more women have to advance to higher ranking positions for balance in the gender perspectiv­e and this should influence each decision making process,” said Jung Hyun-baek, the minister of gender equality and family.

“The government has vowed to achieve gender equality, and needs to work towards the OECD level of female representa­tion in the workforce.”

The Internatio­nal Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Korea to expand its female workforce to help boost innovation in the labor market.

This is because Korea’s productivi­ty is expected to fall further due to its rapidly aging population.

The IMF and the Organizati­on for Economic Cooperatio­n and Developmen­t (OECD) have constantly called on Asia’s fourth largest economy to reduce inequality.

They highlighte­d Korea has the most discrimina­tive workplace in the OECD not only against females but also irregular workers both in gender and income.

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