Park vows gov’t help for women

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Park vows gov’t help for women

Park Geun-hye, presidential frontrunner of the ruling Saenuri Party, said yesterday she will offer after-school child care to all working couples if she becomes president, as she sought to widen her appeal among women struggling with the dual pressures of work and family life.

The pledge came during a visit to a job counseling center for women in the southeastern port city of Busan. The ruling Saenuri Party candidate has been describing her policies in a series of trips to relevant facilities across the nation since announcing her presidential bid last week.

“Institutional support is very weak for a coexisting work and family life, leading women to abandon their dreams due to the pressures of childbirth and child care,” Park said.

State-sponsored home child care services, which are currently offered to low-income working couples, will be expanded to cover all families with working parents, while after-school child care will gradually be provided to all families, rather than just low-income households, her aides said.

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“Women are the engine for the new growth of Korea, and the issue of a coexisting work and family life does not concern only women but the entire country,” Park said. Korea’s potential first female president also suggested tax deductions for families belonging to a particular income class and a “Father’s Month” for fathers to go on a one-month paid leave for the initial months after the birth of their child.

Benefits for firms with high female representation were offered as a way to help women find employment.

“This goes to show how much importance [Park] places on policies for women,” said Cho Yoon-sun, a spokeswoman for Park’s election camp.

Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, as couples are increasingly reluctant to have children.

Yonhap

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