Unwed Mothers in Korea, Arirang, May 23, 2011

Unwed Mothers in Korea
In the last decade, almost 50,000 children were put up for adoption in Korea.
And most of these children were born to single mothers.
According to the Korean Women’s Development Institute, single mothers were identified as a social minority that suffered the second-to-most amount of prejudice.
For single mothers, the most difficult part is the way they and their children are perceived by others.

[Interview : Lee Mi-jeong, Researcher
Korean Women’s Development Institute] “There is still a widespread prejudice about single mothers, and it is financially difficult to raise a child alone. Many of them choose abortion, and others choose to give up their children for adoption.”

[Interview : Lee Bong-ju, Professor
Seoul National University] “In Korean society, the perception of single mothers is that they are abnormal. Furthermore, children of single mothers are bullied or constantly criticized on moral grounds.”

Very slowly, prejudices in Korea against single mothers are beginning to change.
But single mothers still face the unchanging reality of their financial hardships.

[Interview : Gam Eun-nam, Single mother] “It’s difficult not to be able to give my baby a better environment, a better home, and better toys.”

Responsibility for childcare lies with both biological parents, yet most single mothers in Korea do not receive any support from their children’s biological father.
To mitigate the problem, the Korean government offers free legal services for single mothers seeking to pursue paternal recognition lawsuits and child support lawsuits.
There is also financial support available for single mothers.

[Interview : Lee Mi-jeong, Researcher
Korean Women’s Development Institute] “In the general welfare system, families that fall below the poverty line receive welfare aid. It’s not enough, but in tough times it’s a big help.”

It is every mother’s right to be able to raise her own children.
To ensure this right for single mothers, society must provide them with warm support and practical policies.

MAY 23, 2011

Reporter : noakim@arirangtv.com

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