The need for less working hours, more day-care centers
Women are struggling between “workplaces where working overtime is taken for granted” and “unreliable day-care centers.” Working moms, who are burdened with both work and child rearing, have to go to a second workplace, home, after work, while full-time mothers who has to take complete responsibility of both child rearing and house chores, confess that going to throw away food waste is the only time of the day they have to themselves.
Many women called for an environment where child rearing no long has to require sacrifice from women at “Child-care of Today, Vision for Tomorrow” Forum held at Mapo-gu Sungsan Welfare Center on the 18th and hosted by Womenlink and Seoul Working-mom Support Center.
According to an in-depth interview of 19 mothers held by Womenlink from May to October, mothers who are dedicated to child rearing had no choice but to forgo their full-time jobs but were under pressure “to work again” when their children had grown enough. However, for women whose top priority was child rearing, they could only afford to take part-time jobs so that they can pick their children up when day-care centers close.
“When I endure through the crowded subway and finally arrive home from work, it feels more like a second workplace or a battlefield of child rearing, than a home,” confessed Mrs. A, a mother of a 4 year-old. Mrs. B explained the difficulty of getting employed again, saying, “When my child was old enough, I tried to get a job again, but an interviewer asked me, ‘Wouldn’t it be hard with a kid at home?’ I went to 10 interviews, but I didn’t get into any of them.”
At the forum, Womenlink stressed the importance of taking active measures to encourage men to use their paternal leaves, reducing working hours through paid lunch time, and providing financial support for sending children to day-care centers not on 12-hour basis, but on 6-hour basis instead in order to improve the quality of child-care. It also proposed opening and day-care centers to parents so that mothers can visit day-care centers any time of the day.