South Korea is famous for its alarmingly low birth rates. With an average age of 50, the country might not even stay around until 2750.
The problem stems from the fact that South Korean women are often compelled to choose between a career or having a family, and since many of them are career oriented, they choose their dream job over having children.
However, despite making one of the possibly toughest choices, these females still get paid only around 65 percent of their male counterparts. As a result, they end up working longer and harder.
According to the Korea Labour Institute, women spend five times as long taking care of children and the home than men. "There are not enough modern men for the newly educated women to marry," economist Jisoo Hwang told The Economist.
Richard Jackson, president of the nonprofit Global Aging Institute, argues that it could require a fundamental change in workplace and gender dynamics. "Policies that help women (and men) balance jobs and children are the linchpin of any effective pronatal strategy," he wrote in The Graying of the Great Powers.
Much of this also has to do with the fact that South Korea has extremely long working hours, which leaves people with hardly any time to socialize and indulge in family life. As a result, most people choose to stay away from it, and utilize their little left over time for themselves. Moreover, since they get paid only a portion of their male counterparts salary, and have to work harder, women choose career over marriage and kids.
One can only be hopeful that gender equality at work and fewer working hours will allow people to establish a work and personal life balance. It might just be the key to South Korea's survival.