Marchers demand equal pay on Int’l Women’s Day

Events throughout Korea on March 8 were held to mark the 111th International Women's Day, with women's organizations keen on narrowing the gender pay gap in the country.

The 35th Korean women's rally and parade were held at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul under the slogan "Gender equality is the consummation of a democracy - #MeToo, we will change the world."

International Women's Day originated from the 1908 strike by female garment workers in New York to protest long working hours, low wages and sexual harassment. Many countries have since celebrated this day on March 8, and the United Nations officially designated it in 1975. The Korean government last year officially designated the day as a national memorial event.

Narrowing the gender wage gap is the key mission of women's labor groups in Korea. The Korea Women Workers' Association, Womenlink and other women's organizations held a protest called "3 p.m. STOP" to urge female workers to leave their jobs at 3 p.m. The action is meant to bring attention to how men in Korea are paid on average three hours more than women despite both working from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to Statistics Korea, women in Korea were paid 37 percent less than men in 2017.

In the rally, 308 female workers held a performance called "#PayMetoo" to protest gender discrimination in employment.

The central and Seoul municipal governments also announced measures to promote gender equality ahead of International Women's Day.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family will seek to raise the number of female executives in the country, especially at private companies.

Seoul Metropolitan Government from October will release the wage information of 23 companies following a policy of the Moon administration to create a gender equal society.

Mun Mi-ran, policy director for women's and family affairs at the city government, said, "We will strive to reduce the gender wage gap at public corporations and have private companies voluntarily comply with guidelines for narrowing the gap."

Source: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

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