The 2010 budget of the Ministry of Gender Equality has been increased to 96.5 billion won, a 23% increase from the previous budget of 78.4 billion won. According to the Ministry of Gender Equality, the increase is primarily due to the plans to promote center buildings for Women’s Development Center, and career development program for female students.
The largest portions of the budget is allocated to the improvement of women’s rights, which estimates 51.1 billion won (52.9%), and the development for women’s policies and job creation follows with 30.3 billion won (31.4%) and 24.7 billion won (25%) each.
In particular, the 24.7 billion won budget for job creation is proportioned for two objectives: creating jobs for unemployed women and promoting employment opportunities for female university graduates, which take up 19.3 billion won and 5 billion won each. According to the Ministry of Gender Equality, this is a significant increase from the previous budget of 11.3 billion won and 1.7 billion won.
The increased budgets will also help improve the management of Women’s Development Centers in Korea, all of which are established by the Ministry. There are currently 77 centers nationwide, which work primarily in educating women who struggle to balance career and housework. The centers provide programs on job training and social services such as childcare and providing job opportunities. Next year, two additional Women’s Development Centers will be established and supported with 6.8 billion won, increased from this year’s 5.3 billion won.
“The center provides unique programs which reduce the amount of physical labor for women at home, and enables them to receive direct education in getting jobs,” said Chai Myung-sook, an administration official of the Ministry of Gender Equality.
Financial support will be further extended to the career development plans for female university students, which have been carefully planned out over 5 years before it was initiated in 2007 as one of the main projects of the Ministry. The project, “Career Education,” teaches awareness, ability, aptitude, and suitable behavior in pursuing a particular career. The project provides programs which are, Coaching Professional Consciousness, Developing Aptitude and Ability, Behaviors in Work, and Actual Career Experience. It has supported 1200 female annually, marking 85% of satisfaction index from the students, who cite “Actual Career Experience” as the best among the various contents of the program.
“Among the OECD countries, Korea had the smallest percentage of highly-educated women in work force. Our goal is to diminish the differences by establishing centers which will help women to strengthen their participation in the labor market,” said Kim Kwang-yoon an administration official of the Ministry of Gender Equality.
“Prior to the increase in the budget, the Ministry of Gender Equality was typically outshined by the Ministry of Labor and felt limited in efforts to pursue woman-friendly policies. But with the new increase, the Ministry of Gender Equality hopes to see more and better output than before,” said Kim.