Korean Women Are Paid 40% Less Than Men – Lowest Among All OECD Nations

The Gender Wage Gap is the highest in South Korea, where female employees are faced with discrimination and unequal opportunity due to societal issues.

Along with the term ‘Glass Ceiling’, the Gender Wage Gap is a social phenomenon where women are not paid equal pay compared to men in the workplace, creating a ‘gap’ in their wages.

South Korea is the country with the highest wage gap compared to the other 28 OECD countries. This means that that for every $100 USD a male gets paid, females get paid $61 USD for the same amount of work and time that is spent- a whopping 38.8% percent differential in pay.

It seems that there are largely 3 reasons for why the wage gap between males and females exists in South Korea.

Maternal leave and pregnancy, which are inevitable events and rights, delay the promotion of female workers by reducing their days at work. Thus, the difference in workdays causes male and female workers to have different pay grades.

“The wage gap might seem nonexistent at the first place, but as promotions of women workers get delayed by pregnancy or maternal leave, the wage gap starts to expand within the workplace.”

— Ministry of Employment and Labor Statistics

Moreover, the pressure of work can even lead to some women putting off having a second child – a concern in a country with one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

One young mother, Cho Ah Ra, said that her last company was not very family friendly. It was common for the employees to work as much overtime as they can.

“Although official work hours were from 9 to 6, it was normal to get to work around 8 am and I did not get out of work until 8 or 9 pm. And sometimes I would even work on weekends.”

— Cho Ah Ra

The deeply ingrained sexism prevalent within South Korean society is another factor that contributes to the widening wage gap. Throughout Korean history, most CEOs in major companies were male, and Confucianism has created a male-dominant society in Korea.

“I gave feedback about a male co-worker who was not productive, but it was I who got taunted by it and got a pay reduction.”

— Female Office Worker

Lastly, the influence of sexism also limits the opportunity for female workers to get a job, or be able to work in various positions compared to men. There is still a tendency in South Korea to think that women are not able to work in STEM-related careers, and this clearly limits the opportunity for females to get a job, or get a higher pay grade compared to male workers.

“My female co-worker entered the same tech company with me, but she got lower bonus compared to other male workers.”

— Male Office Worker

Currently, there is a push to launch a nationwide campaign to pass South Korea’s very first ‘National Equal Pay Act.’ There is no better time than now for Korea to pass a law that will abolish wage disparity based on sex.

Equal Pay for Equal Work – Korea's Gender Wage Gap

오늘 (8일) 세계 여성의 날을 기념하며 한국리더십소사이어티 (KLS)는 대한민국의 첫 동일임금법을 통과시키기 위한 전국적인 캠페인을 발표합니다.캠페인 영상을 많이 공유해 주시고 동일임금법 청원서에 서명 동참해주시기 바랍니다 ! https://goo.gl/mG2FQHOECD국가중 한국이 남녀근로자 간 가장 큰 임금격차를 나타내고 있습니다.캠페인 영상에서는 한국 여성이 매일 겪는 성차별에 대해 언급하고 임금차별에 대한 인식을 키우고자 합니다.In honor of International Women's Day, The Korea Leadership Society is launching a nationwide campaign to pass Korea's very first 'National Equal Pay Act.'Please Share our Video and Sign Our Petition for Equal Pay! https://goo.gl/mG2FQHOf the OECD, Korea has the Highest gender wage gap at 40%. In our film, we wanted to highlight the gender discrimination Korean women face daily, and to raise awareness of the massive pay gap. Video Credit: Wonderwood – 원더우드#CloseTheGap #MeToo #NotSuperJustWoman #EqualPay

Posted by Korea Leadership Society on Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Source: Korea Leadership Society, Infogram, Cnn and Bloomberg