[EDITORIALS]Don’t destroy the familyThe cabinet has decided to establish a task force to study the abolition of the traditional family head system. It is the first government task force in the half-century-long movement to revise the Family Register Act. Acknowledging the government effort, we expect the latest move will result in easing legal discrimination against women to the extent that it does not violate our traditional family culture.
Although the Civil Act has already been revised three times, due primarily to the efforts of devoted activists, such as Lee Tai-young, the discriminatory clauses of the Family Register Act still exist. It is not reasonable that a young son or even a grandson is made the head of a household instead of the mother or grandmother. The family of a remarried couple suffers even more pain. The children of remarried couples experience confusion about their identities because they use different family names. Even though a mother holds the right to raise the child as well as full parental rights, she has no right to register her child in the family register if there is not consent from the head of the family.
The Constitution stipulates that gender cannot be reason for discrimination. Gender bias cannot be a solution to any social problems in this era when many couples prefer to have only one child.
However, we cannot let our 5,000-year-old family culture be undermined at its foundation. The one-person-one-family-head system or choosing the family name from either side of a couple for their child’s surname, which is advocated by some members of the women’s movement can threaten our traditional family system. The government task force should devise a wise proposal that prevents the collapse of the traditional family tree, while accommodating the emergence of the one-member family head.
While keeping our family system, a senior in the family, like a mother, can be made the head of the household. And another option could be making a couple and unmarried children a basic family unit. Instead of keeping a statistical balance between the sexes, it is better to find merit in other solutions.