Once in Korea, there was a heated debate about whether it is appropriate to give extra credits for men who served in the military. Some supported the idea, but the other protested about it, asserting that it would be another implement to discriminate against women in the work force. However, now, a new legislation agenda that seems to be opposite to the veteran extra point system has risen. On April 16th, Shin Uijin who is a congresswoman of Saenuri Party motioned a bill to give extra-credits to mothers. The details of this bill is that the public institutions and companies with certain amount of capital should give more credits to mothers, who once gave up their vocation to raise their children, and now seeks to get re-employed. While some believe that it can be considered a way to improve women’s working conditions, others think it as a reverse discrimination or a negative impact on women. The Sookmyung Times asked SMU students about their opinions about whether it is right to give certain amount of credits to mothers when they try getting employed.
- Debate Topic -
Extra-Credits to Mothers Should be Legislated.
Yoo Hyojung /
Department of Arts and Crafts '11
The advent of providing extra-credits to mothers who are looking for re-employment is not accidental. A lot of Korean women are suffering dilemmas between their families and their identity as a person who has a job. Most of them sacrifice their jobs in order to take care of their children. However, as the children grow up and need less care along with the growth of women’s social rights, women are searching for jobs to fulfill their dreams. Giving credits for these mothers would enhance the decreasing birth rate and guarantee the rights of women who chose to be mothers.
One of Korea’s most chronic and serious social issues is decreasing birth rates. Due to economic recessions and low employment rate, many young adults are finding less reason to make a family and raise children. This intensifies the development of aging society and lower Korea’s overall competence. By providing more credits to women who are raising children, this would stimulate women to give more birth and can contribute the further development of social welfares of working mothers. This would overall increase the economic capacity and improve the quality of public welfare.
Furthermore, it can solidify working mother’s rights that have been neglected for a long time. Compared to other countries, Korea still has a tacit agreement, that if a woman gives birth to a child, it is best that they give up their jobs. This is an act that ignores women’s right of fulfilling their dreams with their jobs. Also, these women are mostly still competent to work in their fields. But, usually they are outrun by younger unmarried women losing their chance because of their children. Giving more credits to women with children would be a way to support these neglected women from the work force.
To summarize, it is important that we show some interest to mothers searching to be re-employed. Mothers raising children are those building assets and potential of Korea. As a return of their hard work, and to give incentives to those hesitant to raise a child, the government should provide such advantages for women to ensure them that their rights are protected.
Kwak Sohee /
Department of History and Culture '13
The reality of Korean mothers is that it is impossible for them to manage well in both their jobs and raising their children. They are silently forced to choose either one of them in our society. As a result, most women give up their jobs they had for a long time, for their families and focus on raising their children. A woman, who once was competent, now has to live as a man’s wife or as someone’s mother. Such reality may be the reason why it seems that such legislation to give extra-credits, about two percent to mothers looking for re employment would be fair. However, it would be wrong to assume that it would improve women’s working conditions and their employment rate.
Like how some women protested about men given more credits if they have served the military would be discrimination towards women, giving such credits to only mothers would be the same to women unmarried. To be a mother of a child should be a choice, not an obligation for women. It violates equity for women hoping for employment to benefit those who chose to be mothers considering the condition that the government does not force them to be one. Considering the possibility of discrimination within women, it would be wrong for the bill to pass.
Moreover, giving extra credits would not cure the fundamental problem which is lack of supporting systems for working mothers. If it were to relieve such phenomenon, it is more proper to prevent women from resigning or getting laid off from work unfairly. In addition, supporting more day care centers or kindergartens being built within the company or providing qualified nannies for double income families would be a better way to improve female working conditions.
In conclusion, what working mothers really need is not having more benefits than others but to live proudly as a mother within their home and society – not living off day by day, tired of house chores and their jobs but to be happy to have a job and also a family. Such idea of giving extra-credits to mothers can not be considered as a way to guarantee their choice of happiness.