Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

South Korean lawmaker sparks outrage after scolding nominee for not having baby

Euronews logo
Text size Aa Aa

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean lawmaker came under fire this week after he scolded a female nominee to the country’s antitrust body for not having a child to fulfil her duty to the nation.

Jeong Kab-yoon, a veteran member of the conservative opposition Liberty Party Korea, made the controversial remarks at a confirmation hearing on Monday for Joh Sung-wook, an unmarried economics professor.

“You’re not married yet, are you?”, Jeong asked during the hearing, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“The biggest problem in South Korea is that (women) are not giving birth,” Yonhap quoted him as saying. “You would have been a perfect nominee, if you have had such qualification”.

Jeong was chastised by other politicians at the hearing and apologised to Joh.

Womens’ rights groups condemned Jeong’s remarks and said he should be disciplined by parliament.

“Making remarks about marriage and birth to a nominee based on a gender at a confirmation hearing is an outright sexual discrimination during a hiring process and a serious violation of women’s civil and labour rights,” the Korean Women’s Association United said in a statement.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, is grappling with a chronically low birth rate as many women are reluctant to have babies.

To boost the country’s birthrate, the world’s lowest, the government has poured billions of dollars into various subsidies for families and children from birth through university and beyond.

South Korea’s total fertility rate, an average number of children a woman will have in her life, dropped to a record low of 0.98 in 2018, according to data from Statistics Korea.

(Reporting By Jane Chung; editing by Darren Schuettler)

euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on for a limited time.