Seoul hit for stereotyping gender roles

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Seoul hit for stereotyping gender roles

By Kim Se-jeong

A Seoul city government poster promoting its childcare policies has recently come under fire for stereotyping gender roles.

The poster shows a 36-year-old mother kissing her daughter. Next to the image is the text "Seoul helps your future" with a list of policies on childbirth, childcare and family housing assistance.

Its intention was to encourage women to have children, amid the country's low birthrate.

"This image makes people think childcare is done only by women. Why not an image of a father?" was one of the complaints posted on the web portal Naver.

"I can grasp what city employees who draft policies are really thinking. Fire them! As long as they are there, no helpful childcare policy will be available," said another posting.

The city government said it acknowledged the criticism.

"We hear the criticism that the poster encourages traditional gender roles in Korea and influences people to conform to it. We are working to change the image," it said in a statement.

Korea is a patriarchal society and this controversy shows the gap between the traditional patriarchal mindset and gender equality.

The poster also came when Korea's rapidly falling birthrate worries many. Governments, both national and local, are seeking ways to slow the trend.

The national government has offered a variety of policies ranging from offering affordable housing to providing financial assistance to couples and increasing the number of childcare centers.

Under Mayor Park Won-soon, the city government has also announced many policies, including increasing the availability of public housing, financial support for post-delivery care and daycare centers.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) announced Wednesday, it plans to expand the number of childcare services to better adapt to the growing number of dual income families.

But parents have shown little support with some saying the measures are shortsighted.




By Kim Se-jeong

A Seoul city government poster promoting its childcare policies has recently come under fire for stereotyping gender roles.

The poster shows a 36-year-old mother kissing her daughter. Next to the image is the text "Seoul helps your future" with a list of policies on childbirth, childcare and family housing assistance.

Its intention was to encourage women to have children, amid the country's low birthrate.

"This image makes people think childcare is done only by women. Why not an image of a father?" was one of the complaints posted on the web portal Naver.

"I can grasp what city employees who draft policies are really thinking. Fire them! As long as they are there, no helpful childcare policy will be available," said another posting.

The city government said it acknowledged the criticism.

"We hear the criticism that the poster encourages traditional gender roles in Korea and influences people to conform to it. We are working to change the image," it said in a statement.

Korea is a patriarchal society and this controversy shows the gap between the traditional patriarchal mindset and gender equality.

The poster also came when Korea's rapidly falling birthrate worries many. Governments, both national and local, are seeking ways to slow the trend.

The national government has offered a variety of policies ranging from offering affordable housing to providing financial assistance to couples and increasing the number of childcare centers.

Under Mayor Park Won-soon, the city government has also announced many policies, including increasing the availability of public housing, financial support for post-delivery care and daycare centers.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) announced Wednesday, it plans to expand the number of childcare services to better adapt to the growing number of dual income families.

But parents have shown little support with some saying the measures are shortsighted.




Kim Se-jeong skim@koreatimes.co.kr


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