They say that three 'F's such as Fiction, Feeling and Females are important in the 21st century. Among them females may be said to be the most important. Some even refer to the 21st century as the age of 'females' because fiction and feeling are characteristics close to females. Then what will women’s lives be like in the 21st century?
- At birth
'They are teasing my class because there are more boys than girls.' This is not the case only at schools. Korean male adults may feel great difficulties in finding their spouse. The sex ratio by provision of nature was 103-107. Considering the sex ratio at birth (the number of male newborns per 100 female newborns) marked 107.4 in 2006, you may think that Koreans don’t prefer male newborns to female ones any longer. However, the sex ratio of the third child recorded 121.8. Therefore, it would be hasty to conclude Koreans don’t prefer male newborns to female ones any more.
- At school
In the past people often said, 'Girls don’t have to study hard. They will be happy as homemakers.'. But these days few people say those words. Regardless of gender, most students go to high school. What happens after high school graduation? In 1970 female university students accounted for 27 percent, which increased to 45 percent in 2005. Some people still hold a biased view that it’s better for female students to go to teachers’ college or to music or art schools.
- At marriage
'Is there a perfect timing for marriage? When you meet Mr. or Miss Right, that will be a perfect timing for marriage.' These days a marriageable age isn’t meaningful. In addition, few people think that it’s obligatory to get married. The average age at first marriage for females was 28.1 years in 2007. Meanwhile, the average age at first marriage for males was 30.1 years in 2007. Males were older than females by 3 years at their first marriage. On the other hand, there’s an increase in the number of couples who are ’older wives and younger husbands’ or ’wives at remarriage and husbands at first marriage’.
- At childbirth
The number of ’Double Income, No Kids’ shows an upward trend. Most of the ’Dual-employed with Kids’ has one child. The total fertility rate (the number of births that a woman would have in her lifetime) decreased by 3 births from 4.53 in 1970 to 1.26 in 2007.
- At the age of 60 or more
In the past when average life span was relatively short, Koreans held a banquet on their 60th anniversary. Nowadays they tend not to give a banquet on their 60th anniversary. The average life expectancy of males and females aged 60 was 19.93 and 24.60 years, respectively, as of 2006. In terms of death rates, the figures get reversed compared to the sex ratio at birth. The male death rate was 120, while females 100. So the number of elderly widows records an increasing tendency as Koreans get older.
According to a report on the future of Korea, it’s essential that Korea should use female labor force so as to become a more advanced country in 2010. Otherwise, Korea would never be one of ’Top 10 countries’. The future of Korea depends on females. Korean females and males, are you ready?
* This article was an excerpt from the book titled ' Interesting Stories within Statistics' published by the KNSO.