Headline, February 09 2022/ BIRTHS : ''' '' SOUTH KOREA'S SOUPS '' '''



THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY - for every subject in the world is the exclusive ownership of every student of South Korea, just as it is the exclusive ownership of every student in the world. 

YOUNG KOREAN STUDENTS HAVE WELL-DOCUMENTED REASONS NOT to start a family, including the staggering costs of raising children,unaffordable homes, lousy job prospects and soul-crushing working hours.

But women in particular are fed up with this traditionalist society's impossible expectations of mothers. So they're quitting..

AFTER TRYING FOR OVER A YEAR TO PERSUADE more South Korean women to have babies, Chung Hyun-back says one reason stands out for her failure : ''Our Patriarchal culture.''

Ms. Chung, who was tasked by the previous government with reversing the country's plummeting birthrate, knows first hand how tough it is to be a woman in South Korea. She chose her career over nuptials and children. Like her, millions of young women have been collectively spurning motherhood in a so-called birth strike.

A 2022 survey found that more women than men - 65 percent versus 48 percent - don't want children. They're doubling down by avoiding matrimony [ and its conventional pressures ] altogether. The other term in South Korea for birth strike is ''marriage strike.''

The trend is killing South Korea. For three years in a row, the country has recorded the lowest fertility rate in the world, with women of reproductive age having fewer than one child on average.

It reached the ''dead cross,'' when deaths outnumbered births, in 2020, nearly a decade earlier than expected. 

NOW, about half of the country's 228 cities, counties and districts risk losing so many residents they might vanish. Day care centers and kindergartens are being converted into nursing homes.

Ob-Gyn clinics are closing, and funeral parlors are opening. At Seoksan Elementary School, in rural Gunwi County, the student body has shrunk from 700 pupils to four. When last I visited, the children couldn't even form a soccer team.

President Yoon Suk-yeol, elected last year, has suggested feminism is to blame for blocking ''healthy relationships'' between men and women. But he's got it backward - gender equality is the solution to falling birthrates.

Many of the Korean women shunning efforts, marriage and childbirth are sick of pervasive sexism and furious about a culture of violent chauvinism.

Their refusal to be ''baby making machines,'' according to protest banners I've seen, is retaliation. ''The birth strike is women's revenge on a society that puts impossible burdens on us and doesn't respect us,'' says Jiny Kim, 30, a Seoul office worker who's intent on remaining childless.

Making life fairer and safer for women would work wonders toward reducing the country's existential threat. Yet this feminist dream seems increasingly far-fetched, as Mr. Yoon's conservative government champions regressive policies that only magnify the problem.

South Korea's demographic crisis was once inconceivable : As late as the 1960s, women had six children on average.

But pursuing economic development, the state carried out an aggressive population control campaign. In about 20 years, women were having fewer than the 2.1 children needed for replenishment, a number that's only continued to drop.

The latest available data from South Korea's statistics agency put the fertility rate at 0.81 for 2021; by the third quarter of 2022 it was 0.79.

Recent governments have indeed been alarmed by a rate that's seemingly approaching zero. Over 16 years, 280 trillion won [$210 billion] has been poured into programs encouraging procreation, such as monthly allowance for parents of newborns.

Many women still say nope. No wonder. There's little escaping suffocating gender norms., whether in pregnancy guidelines or the dayslong kitchen drudgework for holidays like the Chuseok harvest festival. 

Even in dual-income households, wives daily spend more than three hours on these tasks versus their husband's 54 minutes.

The United Nations projects that South Korea's 51 million population will halve before the end of the century. Survival of the nation is at stake.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Opinions, Mankind, and Policies around the world, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Hawon Jung.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of South Korea and then the World. See Ya all ''set up your own data base''  and prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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