Seoul Sisters

South Korea’s plexiglass ceiling

South Korea has its first woman president—but her historic role seems more the exception than the rule. According to a McKinsey & Co. study at the center of a WSJ story, the number of South Korea's working women still fall squarely below some of the country's peer nations. Only 55 percent of South Korean women are in the workforce, as compared to China's 74 percent and Japan's 62 percent, and those that are have difficulty earning high-power berths. Of the 1,787 companies in South Korea's main stock exchange, only 13 have female CEOs. The low participation is in part due to a not unfamiliar debate—how to manage the work/family balance. The government has awarded significant incentives to companies who support female growth, but social barriers persist. However, as the country's economy lags, women are key to preventing a slump. “More participation of women in the economy is a core engine for the nation’s growth,”  President Park Geun-hye said last summer. “A work-life balance is no longer just a women’s issue but the country’s.”

Read it at the Wall Street Journal

June 18, 2013 11:58 AM