South Korea Again Ranks Low in Gender Equality

Gender Innequality Korea

Although the situation for South Korean women has changed drastically over the past decades, the country still ranks low compared to most others surveyed, according to an interactive function on a BBC article entitled “How Equal Are You?” The BBC ranks South Korea 115 out of 145 countries.

France, by contrast, ranks 15, compared to 18 for the UK and 28 for the United States. Meanwhile, Yemen ranks at the very bottom, and other Middle Eastern countries also ranked in the 130s. Top scorers were the Scandinavian countries.

These statistics are consistent with the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, which also ranks Scandinavian countries at the top and the USA 20th, with France 16th and the UK 26th. South Korea, however, is not listed in its rankings of 71 countries; evidently, it does not make the cut.

It must be added that career and education opportunities vary tremendously among individuals in any given country, and that most South Korean women who work hard can achieve high goals. Certainly those of us who teach young women here have seen them continue to do great things. After all, this country now has its first female head of state since Queen Seondeok during the Unified Shilla kingdom, and the cafes abound with ambitious young women.  Still, the overall message one gets is that they will face a tough time ahead.



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A California native, Hal Swindall received his PhD in comparative literature from UC Riverside and has wandered East Asia as a vagabond prof ever since. He teaches English conversation, writing and presentation skills at Woosong University in Daejeon.


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