[Letters] Breaking the glass ceilingSince first used in an article on the 1986 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the term “glass ceiling” is still being used frequently. Meaning “the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements,” the term pinpoints the still-existing sexual discrimination.
To begin with, women have a right to receive special assistance to counter the effects of history of discrimination. In fact, even in the present, women are not totally free from the effects of past discrimination. This ongoing discrimination means that special assistance is necessary to promote equality.
A little improvement on the gender equality issue is a drop in a bucket compared to the immense loss and persecution women have been suffering for a long time. Further improvement on the social awareness surrounding this equality problem is required, and the root cause of such blatant gender discrimination must be studied to properly and effectively deal with the issue.
In addition, assistance provided to women can help solve many other social problems. For starters, such assistance helps to develop women work force, naturally leading to more participation in and contribution to the society. Beside such provision of human work force, women assistance also holds the key to low fertility problem. For instance, extended maternity leave or better child care services for working women can help boost birthrate.
In fact, increased birthrate is the key to other social problems; by downsizing the dangers of becoming an aging society, it can lighten the young generation’s burden to support the elder generation. More freed from such economic burdens, the young people will gain confidence to start and support their own family, leading to an increased marriage rate. Subsequently, this will lead to increased birthrate yet again, creating a virtuous cycle.
At a short glance, special assistance for women might seem like a reverse discrimination. However, such special assistance is only serving the role of compensation that women rightfully require and deserve, and can also be the key to solving social problems. One should not forget that the glass ceiling not only acts as a barrier for women, but it is also a barrier for social development. By breaking the ceiling with the special assistance programs, the society can then, and only then, expect further development.
* a student at Gaepo High School
By Chang Da-yeon
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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