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In the Dark Shadows of Recession: Middle-aged Women Entering Job Market - 2

In the Dark Shadows of Recession: Middle-aged Women Entering Job Market - 2

Posted November. 04, 2004 23:09,   


Early retirement and the increase in youth unemployment have led to a rise in middle- age women entering the job market to support their family.

Mrs. Kim, a 51-year-old housewife from Seodaemun, is working in a discount store as a part time worker since a month ago. With a retired husband who worked as a general manager of a company and two university graduate sons unsuccessful in finding jobs, this was inevitable for her.

According to the National Statistics Office, the employment rate of 40 to 59 year-old women for third quarter (July - September) was 3,789,000. 4.12 percent higher than last year.

Especially, employed women in their forties increased from January’s number of 2,422,000 to 2,545,000 in September, an increase of 123,000 in just eight months.

However, where they can work is limited and out of those limited places, younger people are more welcomed, making job finding a very difficult process.

At a recruitment event of a big department store in Jeonju, which opened in May, 1,000 housewives applied when it was only looking for 100.

The Ministry of Gender Equality-supported Women Development Center and private job academies are full of women in their 40s and 50s looking for jobs. Most popular classes are PC management, wedding helper and Korean food cook certificate classes.

Seoul Hannam Vocation School’s manager of vocation information, Jang Ae-ri, said, “There are those who come for themselves, but most of them are pushed into the job market because of early-retired husbands and unemployed children.”

LG Economic Research Institute’s researcher Shin Min-young said, “Women in their 40s can only find daily physical labor jobs with low pay.” He added, “Policy to improve the employment environment is needed.”

Soo-Jung Shin crystal@donga.com