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[CARD NEWS: Opinion] “Sorry for Being a Woman”

May 31,2017
“When are you going to get married? How tall are you?” A woman was asked these questions prior to her job interview. Her story is not rare in the Korean job market.


1) “I’d like to inform that you passed the resume screening.”
A woman applied for a secretary position at a newspaper company in Busan in last October. After a few days, she received the text message that she was looking forward. Her happiness, however, turned into disappointment when she got a call from the company.

2) “I bet you’re not married. When are you going to get married?”
“How tall are you? You’re taller than 165cm (5.41 feet), right?”

The company said the call was to inform her about an upcoming interview, but the questions the applicant received were about more than just that.

3) Following the call, she thought to herself whether the only way she can get a job is if she is good-looking and unmarried.

4) She is not the only woman who experienced inappropriate hiring practices.

5) The Equal Employment Opportunity and Work Family Balance Assistance Act Art. 7 (Recruitment and Employment)
(1) Employers shall not discriminate by gender in the recruitment or employment process.
(2) Employers shall not require unnecessary qualifications in conducting jobs, such as appearance, height, weight, physical condition, and marital status. The requirements shall meet the acts of the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

6) As you see above, discriminating by gender in hiring is prohibited.

7) However, society doesn’t abide by the spirit of the law.

8) “The employment barrier is higher for women than for men.” 93%
“In seeking a job, I experienced disadvantages because of my gender.” 72%
(source: survey conducted by Incruit, questioned 593 women)

Gender discrimination that women experience in the job market is much more serious than what many imagine.

9) The discrimination those female workers experience is taken for granted even at public institutions.

10) Under 30: 10 out of 10
Above 30- under 36: 9 out of 10
Above 36: 8 out of 10

Last year, a public company in Daegu scored female applicants according to their ages.

11) ‘Appearance > Foreign language ability > Prettiness’

In addition, the KCON 2016 France held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism was embroiled in controversy for including “prettiness” as hiring criteria.

12) Why do they have to be pretty and young to get a job?

13) “Female labor is undervalued and female workers are considered office attractions. The setting of physical standards traps women in outdated situations and distresses them.” – the Korean Women Workers Association

14) A society where the women are discriminated against just because they are women - isn’t it time for reform?



Directed by Lee Jeong-bong
Constructed by Kim Min-pyo
Designed by Cho Seong-jin
Translated by Son Min-young
Edited by James Constant



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