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Mother-Turned-Lawmaker Takes On Corporate Korea’s Child Care Policies

Mother-Turned-Lawmaker Takes On Corporate Korea’s Child Care Policies

Posted October. 07, 2005 07:35,   


Kim Young-joo, a member of the Environment and Labor committee of the National Assembly and the ruling party , sent letters asking 172 easily-recognizable businesses, such as big companies, public institutions and large hospitals to set up child care facilities for their workers on October 6.

“I heartily ask you to build day-care centers at work not as a member of the National Assembly, but as a mother who raised children with much effort while working together with my husband,” she said.

In the letter, Kim said, “Korea records the lowest birth rate in the world due to childcare issues. There are a lot of women who quit their job because of expensive cost of childcare, even though they have to work due to economic reasons. There must be workers who have similar difficulties in your company, too.”

Kim also introduced difficulties she experienced while bringing up her daughter, Min Yeo-ul (currently a college student), when she was working as a bank employee in the past.

She wrote in the letter, “I had lots of heartbreaking moments as a mother who had to leave my daughter to her grandmother to work harder than anybody else. It wasn’t me who was holding my daughter’s hand when my young daughter entered a kindergarten. The same goes for the entrance and graduation ceremony of her elementary school. Although I wanted to have a second child, I had to give up that dream because of childcare issues.”

She added, “But I was a happy person looking back upon that time because I had my mother who took care of my child.”

Kim found out in the process of preparing for the National Assembly’s audit that 172 out of 256 businesses (with more than 300 full time women workers), which should have day-care facilities established according to the enforcement of decree under the Infant Care Act, do not have them yet. She thought of pressing them by revealing the names of those businesses during the National Assembly`s audit but, she judged that it would be better to let them know the importance of day-care centers in person, and decided to write her letter.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com