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Korean government lays out measures to boost female participation in labor force Updated: 2014-02-05 06:28:08 KST

 Korean government lays out measures to boost female participation in labor force
Thirty-one-year-old Han Ji-hee quit her job as a video editor seven months ago when she gave birth to her son Tae-min.
Han says it was impossible to raise her newborn and hold a full-time job.

"I didn't want to quit my job, but I had no choice. There was no one to help me raise the baby and I felt uneasy about putting him in a daycare center."

Han is not alone.
Working moms in Korea face numerous obstacles at work that force many to quit.
They include a lack of childcare services amid a male-dominated business culture, and to tackle them, the government unveiled a comprehensive plan on Tuesday aimed at making the nation's female workforce a new growth engine.

"The best policy alternative when birth rates are low and the population is aging is higher female participation in the labor force. An OECD report also shows that Korea would add one percentage point to growth annually if it had equal gender employment."

Programs to support female workers were drawn up to line up with women's life cycles.
They include increasing subsidies for parents on childcare leave, encouraging flexible working hours, expanding the number of public nursuries and improving vocational training to make it easier for women to return to their careers.
The government also plans to operate and support a pool of substitute workers that can fill in gaps at companies created by workers going on parental leave.
However, further support for small- and medium-sized businesses is needed.

"Large companies will be able to follow the government plans, but SMEs with small workforces will face difficulties in finding substitute workers."

Korea's female employment rate sits at just 54 percent, much lower than the OECD average of 65 percent.
The government believes that boosting the female employment rate is a crucial factor in achieving its ambitious goal of raising the overall employment rate to 70 percent.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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