Lives of Unmarried Women in their 30’s and 40’s

by: ARIRANG NEWS     Published on: 26 December 2017

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30~40대 미혼 여성의 그늘 In Korea, of 7.80 milion women in their 30’s and 40’s. 17.176% or 1.38milion are singls.Now in the 21st century marriage is no longer a necessity but rather an option, and many women choose to remain single.Yet, there is not enough social security for them, creating a blind spot of the structural system. Let’s learn more about the issue, and what needs to be done to improve the current conditions. Jeong Eun-mi is a 41 year-old florist who dreamed of becoming a good wife and wise mother as a child. Like the majority of people, she thought she had to get married and form a family when she was younger.But her perspective has changed a lot. "I gained a genuine passion and desire for my career in my early 30’s. Therefore, I naturally focused more on my work than romantic relationships, and time passed very quickly."Jeong is not the only one who chooses to remain unmarried. Many women in their 30’s and 40’s do, too. According to the National Statistical Office, 1 million 384 thousand and 47 women in their 30’s and 40’s were single as of 2015, and that figure is more than twice that of 10 years ago. The drastic jump largely resulted from women’s increased labor force participation.Also, Korea remains a patriarchal society. "Marriage is not only a union of two lovers but of families, which I found very burdensome. I wasn’t sure if I could take care of all the things that occur in my husband’s family while pursuing my career." Currently, 40% of female workers have irregular jobs and earn about US$1,500 per month on average.Indeed, the low income has a negative influence on housing stability. "The majority of single women live alone, and their residential environments vary depending on economic status. Naturally, there are concerns about women being targets of sexual assault and other crimes, especially for those living in poorer areas, as it is clear that the number of violent crimes against women has been increasing recently." A recent survey conducted by the Seoul metropolitan government on women in their 40’s and 50’s living alone, only 36.9% responded that they were preparing for old age. Also, 81.2% of them answered that they were unable to prepare for their later years because they couldn’t afford to do so. But there’s barely any governmental support for them. 39-year old Kim Hyun-joo works for the cooperative society of an animal hospital in Seoul.And she mentioned that Korean single women are stuck in the blind spot of social welfare.More than anything, the biggest fear comes from the fact that there are many structural limits if they suffer from any diseases. "If I need medical surgery, only my direct family members are eligible to sign the consent form. I currently live with my friend, who is single as well, but she would not be eligible to sign the form even if my life depended on it. "As a cat owner, Kim formed a gathering of fellow single women with animal companions.The best thing about this gathering is that they have good neighbors to rely on in times of emergency, who also have the same interest and concerns. "There are certain hardships we experience because we chose to remain unmarried. We share those things, relate to one another and get healed along the way. "Outside the welfare system, single women have to find their own means to secure their futures, and they’re calling on a change in the family-centered social policies. "Because the tax system, welfare policies, and even the medical insurance system are designed for families, they alienate unmarried women and single-person households. Therefore, our society needs to find ways to embrace and support them rather than merely trying to treat the symptoms."For marriage to be truly an option for both genders, the general perception towards singles should be transformed along with new practical policies to meet their needs. Arirang News Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/arirangtvnews------------------------------------------------------------[Subscribe Arirang Official YouTube]ARIRANG TV: http://www.youtube.com/arirangARIRANG RADIO: http://www.youtube.com/Music180ArirangARIRANG NEWS: http://www.youtube.com/arirangnewsARIRANG K-POP: http://www.youtube.com/arirangworldARIRANG ISSUE: http://www.youtube.com/arirangtodayARIRANG CULTURE: http://www.youtube.com/arirangkorean------------------------------------------------------------[Visit Arirang TV Official Pages]Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/arirangtvTwitter: http://twitter.com/arirangworldInstagram: http://instagram.com/arirangworldHomepage: http://www.arirang.com------------------------------------------------------------[Arirang K-Pop]YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/arirangworldFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/arirangkpopGoogle+: http://plus.google.com/+arirangworld