In Seoul, South Korea, working women put careers on hold for an average of four and a half years while having children. The majority hope to resume work after this hiatus.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government sponsored a recent survey of 1,969 women. 49.1 percent of respondents reported that they quit their jobs to have children. They averaged 8.4 years of service when they quit. The average length of their career breaks was 54 months.
Around 46% of the women said that the major reasons for taking time off was that they had difficulties managing family and work roles. The priority of 18.9% was on parenting and running the household. Another 16% said that they received pressure from their companies to quit after marriage, pregnancy and delivery.
Over 80% expressed willingness to resume their career, with 49.8% reported being “very much” interested to get back to work.
The women said they would be willing to work late into the night and even on holidays once they returned to work. Many also said they were willing to sacrifice personal affairs to work. A majority admitted that economic reasons contributed to their desire to return to work. About 4 in 10 said they wanted to work in order to achieve personal development and self-realization.
The survey can be interpreted to tell Seoul public officials that working women need additional support in the community if they are to achieve their desires to work after pregnancy and giving birth. The women want to work but can’t balance professional and personal priorities for the first four years of their children’s lives. The women are not necessarily choosing to stay at home. Some are being forced out of the companies. Many are sacrificing economic stability to stay at home.
In the United States it has been determined that working women with children suffer a 10 to 15% income penalty compared to working women without children.
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