Thursday, July 03, 2008

Korean Wives Decide Where the Money Gets Spent

Korea is behind other countries in terms of gender equality, but is not so when it comes to who controls the household budget. Statistics show that women in two out of every three couples are in charge of the money.

The National Statistical Office (NSO) published the Life of Woman in Statistics report to commemorate the week of women, running from July 1 through July 7.

The report showed that wives in 65.3 percent of households determined where money was spent. 29 percent said the husband and the wife jointly decide, and only 5.7 percent left the man in charge.

Women also controlled the education of children ― as to which private institute they should go. Only 3.1 percent had fathers decide children's education while 39.2 percent left it totally to moms. The rest made decisions jointly.

The statistics show that around half of women are economically active. Women in their 40s were the most active, with 65.8 percent participating in economic activities. For those in their 30s, meanwhile, the ratio was 56.3 percent, reflecting the fact that many women of this age quit their jobs to take care of kids, returning to the job market later.

The results showed that an increasing number of women succeeded in getting good jobs. Some 19.3 percent of females were in professional or managerial level positions, up 7.1 percentage points from a decade ago. Among rookie diplomats who passed the difficult government exam last year, two out of three were female. Among lawmakers, 41 out of a total 299, or 13.7 percent, were women. Although this is still low compared with other countries, the ratio has been rising continuously. In 1996, only 3 percent of lawmakers were female.

In some workplaces there are too many women. About 73 percent of teachers at elementary schools were female. In 1990, the figure was only 50.1 percent.

Women are getting married older than before. The average age of a first time bride was 28.1. Grooms, meanwhile, were 31.1 years old on average. In 2000, however, brides were 26.5 years old, and grooms, 29.3 years.

Things have gotten better for baby girls as well. Parents are not preferring boys as much as before. There were 107.4 boys born to every 100 girls in 2006, while a decade ago it was 111.6 boys to every 100 girls.

Korea's female population totaled 24.19 million, or 49.8 percent of the entire population. They can expect to live to 82.36 years on average, 6.62 years more than males whose life expectancy hovered around 75.74 years. The gap has been decreasing since 1985, when women outlived men by 8.37 years.

The biggest death factor for women in 2006 was cancer, followed by cerebro-vascular disease, heart disease, diabetes and suicide.

Last year, 29,140 foreign women married Korean men, and 9,351 married foreign men.


No comments: