Committee targets work, family life in new policies

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Committee targets work, family life in new policies

The government this week set out to tackle work and family life balance as a new target in its policies for gender equality.

At its Gender Equality Committee meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, officials adopted the first Basic Plan on Gender Equality Policy, outlined for 2015 to 2017.

The resolution is intended as a revision to replace the fourth Basic Plan on Women’s Policies (2013-2017) since the Women’s Development Act, legislation intended for women’s advancement, was revised on July 1 as the Basic Act on Gender Equality.

According to the committee, the new plan sets out to address and narrow the gender gap, provide more balance between work and family life and respect human rights.

“Over the past 20 years with the Women’s Development Act, we have seen much progress in women’s social status and development,” Hwang said. “With the new plan, the shift from female advancement to gender equality can go forward.”

The committee has set this year’s focus on bolstering gender equality and promoting a better balance of work and family, primarily by emphasizing the rights and responsibilities of men, supporting single fathers and encouraging paternity leave.

The government is also planning a campaign in an effort to improve Korea’s corporate culture, in which preference is given to employees who work longer hours.

“Because the public most needs a work-family balance, most of our policies focus on men, who usually can’t take much part in child-rearing,” said Choi Seong-ji, who heads the Women’s Policy Division in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Child care policies will be complemented as well. The ministry currently plans to expand its nanny system, in which baby-sitters are assigned to working families, to establish a realistic child care system.

BY KIM BONG-MOON AND JUNG JONG-HOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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