Maija Rhee Devine

TEDx Talk of 2/22/14

TEDxCakeminiMaija’s TEDx talk of 2/22/14 ( posted on youtube 4/15/14 now has almost 3,000 views.  Many viewers commented that the points made in the talk, i.e., how the 1950s story of son preference culture originating from patriarchal values portrayed in The Voices of Heaven reveal harsh realities about today’s S. Korean society, particularly in gender and population issues (they must import brides from other countries), opened their eyes to aspects of Korea they have not been aware of.   They realize the global significance of the discussion as the sex-selective abortions of female fetuses  rage at much larger scale in China, India, and N. Africa than in S. Korea, where the rate of such abortions has been reduced by more than 80% from the 1970s level.  The remaining 10%-20% still results in thousands of sex selective abortions and the sex ratio at birth is still 107 boys to 100 girls (as of December of 2013), which is higher than the ratio of 104 boys to 100 considered to be the desirable rate by experts.  But S. Korea has made great strides, too, in improving women’s status.  The Family Reform Act of 1989 provide women with the right to inherit their husbands’ estates ahead of their mothers-in-law, but not ahead of their children.  The reformed labor laws grant generous maternity leaves to women.  Women can now have joint custody of their children.  More women graduate from colleges than men do.  However, according to The Economist March issue of 2015, S. Korea still has much to do to rise in its rank among advanced countries in terms of providing more gender equality.  S. Korea is still ranked the lowest in The Economist’s glass-ceiling index.

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by Maija Rhee Devine

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