[Letters] Regarding the Oct. 20 editorial “Keeping women working”

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[Letters] Regarding the Oct. 20 editorial “Keeping women working”

I agree that working moms are still struggling to maintain both roles at home and at work, because our society does not seem to be prepared for them yet, while racking its brain with the issue of a shrinking population.

First, the working environment in our society does not allow daddies to come home early to share the onus of housework and child care. Even after working hours, they are still with their co-workers or the boss of their company or in a bar, concerning themselves about their work. Even though the household culture has been recently changed to share the responsibilities of housework and child care, daddies are still too busy to spend time with their children every day.

Second, there are not enough kindergartens for babies or young kids that allow their moms to work until night. The number of kindergartens and preschools has been increasing; however, working moms are still experiencing the deficiencies of the child care system. On top of that, one babysitter in the kindergarten generally takes care of more than six babies who need to be handled more carefully.

Lastly, Korean society has the stereotype that women cannot work hard while they have children and nurture them. Generally speaking, working moms cannot get promoted easily even if they spare no efforts in their work. In fact, on account of the pressure, many women cannot retain their jobs let alone get promoted after they give birth.

The birthrate has been decreasing due to the unsatisfactory child raising conditions of working moms. If our society becomes more friendly place for working moms, we can have happy future babies as well as excellent working moms.

Joung Min-kyung, Seoul

Women are precious human resources. However, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Finance and OECD, the percentage of women working in Korea (AMAK Quarterly, 2008) is 54 percent, which is 6.6 percent lower than the average of OECD countries. Officials in the Ministry of Finance mentioned that it was caused by the heavy pressure of childbirth, parenting and household chores on women.

As the writer pointed out, it is really demanding to revise household culture in order for women to remain at their workplaces. Next, many couples working together hesitate to give birth owing to practical problems such as choosing between giving up her job or hiring a nanny. It is obviously true that working mothers meet an unfriendly atmosphere at their place of work whenever they have to leave for parenting reasons. Additionally, enrolling in municipal day care centers for children instead of paying lots of money to nannies seems to be impossible. Practical backing for them such as supplying sufficient municipal child care centers and fostering a friendly mood at their places of work will jack up the birth rate. Last, we must remember that there are children at the center of this issue. They have the right to be provided a proper nurturing environment, and will lead the future Korea.

As Winston Churchill said, “there is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies”. Korean society has the responsibility of raising our future through good breeding, and has to implement this by giving practical support to working moms.

Substantial aid for women at work is not only for making an individual happy, but also for securing manpower, and is directly linked to our national competitiveness. Every gear engages with each other. Joy, jyf20097@hotmail.com

As you mentioned, some 23 percent of working moms show depression. Moreover, there are some cases that their children became emotionally disturbed. Long-term solutions to working moms’ problems are necessary.

Fathers should often take the role of cleaning the house or taking care of the children. Children should make their own beds and pick up toys and teenagers should clean the house and do the laundry. The workplace must institute family-friendly working conditions. The government should enhance the child care infrastructure. The government must enlarge the number of public child care centers and support them financially. There are almost 400 children who have been on the waiting list for more than one year. In addition, extended opening hours and allowance of entrance for newborn babies should be highly considered. Another option is to provide companies with internal child care centers inside their buildings which are easily accessible. Society should provide capable solutions to make working moms happy.

Lee Hyo-Yeob, mippy33@naver.com
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