Korea is at the bottom among major countries in terms of social infrastructure encouraging women to be devoted to both work and family.
Ko Seung-yeon, a research commissioner at Hyundai Research Institute (HRI), drew this conclusion after analyzing the systematic and communal attention and understanding over women who work and take care of a family of OECD member countries in the report titled “Coexistence of Work and Home for Women and Social Capital” published on August 19.
Social capital means the norms, trust, and networks to promote adjustment and cooperation among social members for mutual benefit.
The report assessed social capital in terms of the coexistence of work and home by analyzing four systematic variables: public expenditures on family out of GDP, registration rate in nursery facilities, portion of female overtime employees, and wage differentials by gender. The report also analyzed four communal understanding variables: the social networks of females, female poverty rate, length of paternity leave, and free time for women.
Korea scored 3.4 out of 10, at the bottom of the chart among the 28 assessed countries. This is even lower than the average (7.49) of 28 countries, and even lower than Japan. Japanese woman have the second-lowest amount of social capital, assessed at 4.7.
On the contrary, European countries such as Luxemburg, Belgium, and Norway held the highest ranks.
The report emphasized that a correlation between aggregate birthrate and social capital is positive (correlation coefficient 0.47).
New Zealand and Iceland, which have a high aggregate birthrate of 2, have high social capital related to the coexistence of work and home as well. Korea and Slovakia, which both have a low aggregate birthrate of about 1.3, also have lower social capital.
The female participation rate in economic activities is also positively proportional to social factors helping the coexistence of work and home.
The report proposed, “Improvement in social capital positively influences the female participation rate in economic activities and a high birthrate. The government needs to understand the importance of social capital and its improvement, and increase systematic support.”