Fewer working moms remain in workforce
A 31-year-old former movie distribution company worker who recently quit her job to raise her child said there is still a barrier for working women in Korea.
“I was going to apply for maternity leave at the firm. It was defined by law, but the firm indirectly asked me to quit,” she said.
“The firm is a small one so it might not have been able to afford to pay me the mandated childbirth subsidies while I was on maternity leave. Laws for working moms are already in effect, but I believe the mentality has yet to follow, especially in small- and mid-size firms.”
More and more working mothers are struggling to keep their jobs amid worsening labor market conditions. Many women involuntarily quit when they get married or give birth, a disturbing trend still prevalent in small domestic companies.
According to Statistics Korea, Friday, the number of the nation’s female workers who raise children under the age of 18 stood at 2.87 million as of the first half of this year, down 0.9 percent from 2.89 million from the same period last year.
The figure has slid two years in a row since the agency started releasing the data in 2016. The number of female workers raising children was 2.91 million in the first half of 2016, and then slid to 2.89 million a year later.
“The decline is attributed to the fall in the nation’s population of women of child-bearing age, accompanied with its sluggish economy,” said Statistics Korea in a press release.
The number of women between ages 15 and 54 stood at 14.39 million as of June, down 185,000, or 1.3 percent, from a year ago.
Accordingly, the number of female workers who raise children was also down 101,000, or 1.9 percent, in the period.
The employment rate of the nation’s female workers was, howev- er, up by 0.6 percentage point to 56.7 percent in the period.
“The employment rate of the nation’s working mothers was determined by the number and age of their children,” it said.
The rate of working mothers who raise only one child aged under 18 was 57.9 percent as of June while the figure of those who raise more than three children was 52.1 percent. The margin was 5.8 percentage points between the groups.
The data also indicates the job rate of working mothers who raise a child less than six years old was only 48.1 percent.
“This shows the nation’s working women are experiencing difficulties in maintaining their careers when their children are young and need to be taken care more often,” the data said.