Women like Hwang Ji-sun, 52, found it hard when she initially started working on the assembly line at Hyundai 22 years ago.
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She noted that there weren’t enough bathrooms for women and that female technicians earned less than their full-time male counterparts because they could only be employed as contractors from staffing firms rather than as employees.
According to the Korea Metal Workers’ Union, Hyundai only recently hired female industrial workers in South Korea directly for the first time since the company’s founding in 1967. Six female technicians were hired by the organization in July.
The gender pay gap in South Korea, which has the largest wage difference among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, has gained more attention as a result of news of the hirings.
Despite having one of the most developed economies in the world, analysts claim that women still don’t have access to the same possibilities as males and are rarely represented in executive positions or on manufacturing floors.
A NEW BEGINNING
After working at a shoe factory, Hwang, a mother of two, joined Hyundai in Ulsan, a coastal city, ready for a new beginning. Applying black tape to door frames was the main responsibility of her first employment at the automaker.
In contrast to the roughly 2 million Korean won ($1,500) earned by other full-time employees, who were all men, Hwang claimed that as a contractor, her remuneration was between 1.4 and 1.5 million Korean won ($1,000 to $1,100) per month, including overtime pay.
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Female, off its staff illegally, enabling Hwang and other people to work there full-time.
However, it took five years for Hwang to actually receive the promotion as a result of protracted talks between management and the unions.
She now claims that full-time female employees receive the same pay as full-time male employees. There are additional restrooms and even female-only showers at her facility. Additionally, more women have joined, making up about 90 of the 3,600 workers at her factory.
A BIGGER ISSUE
Researchers claim that despite slight improvements, gender-based exclusion and low pay remain pervasive issues in South Korea. According to OECD data, women in the nation are typically paid a third less than men, compared to a 17% gender pay gap in the United States.
According to experts at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), the tendency persists “despite an above-average level of female tertiary education” in South Korea.
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Requests For Modification
Activists claim that businesses’ lack of transparency over how they treat women is part of the issue.
Unions claim that while private sector employees are not obligated by law to publish specific gender ratio data, public entities are.
Several worker and activist groups urged businesses to be more open about their hiring practices at a news conference in March.
According to Hwang, a lot more work needs to be done to alter attitudes towards women in fields where men predominate, especially in a culturally conservative society like South Korea.
Source: Cosmo Politian